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Printed by Hazell, Watson, & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury. 


\ ^7HEN, at the request of the late Bishop of Win- 
^ ' Chester's family, I undertook to write this Memoir 
of our dear and honoured friend, my heart was far from 
light. Apart from the very heavy responsibility which 
must ever rest on one who tries to interpret the nature 
and life of a man of mark, I had a special cause for 
anxiety in the knowledge that to many I must seem, as 
indeed to myself I often seemed, unfitted for so serious 
a task. Nor was it long before this feeling found expres- 
sion. "The selection," said the Occasional Note of one 
of the weekly papers, " is not altogether satisfactory to 
many of the late Prelate's friends, who are of opinion 
that a Cambridge man ought to have been chosen." And 
yet the worst was not told ; an Oxford man writing a 
Cambridge man's life may be, as the Article says, " an 
anomaly " ; but what shall we say to a Broad Churchman 
dealing with the problems of a High Churchman's mind ? 
a liberal in politics with those of a person instinctively 
conservative? a Dean with the story of a Bishop's 
activities ? The more I thought of it, the deeper was my 


sense of obligation to those who so indulgently, in spite 
of these great divergences, pressed nne to undertake the 
task ; the more I was determined to accept their proposal 
in a spirit of watchfulness against myself. It is his life, 
not my colouring of it, which is the essential matter ; his 
view of things, not my private sentiments, which had to 
be portrayed. And, after all, there was a large common 
ground. I had known and honoured the Bishop from his 
professorial days at Cambridge, some forty years ago ; 
I had been entrusted with the education of three of his 
sons ; even when I had become the Dean of his Cathedral 
no breath of variance had ever severed us. Above all, 
I felt strong in the support I received from Mrs. Harold 
Browne in my effort to depict the singular beauty of his 
life and character : and if she was not displeased, I cared 
little for the rest. My aim has been to do justice to one 
of the truest representatives of the Church of England ; 
to a man who could with equal dignity and simplicity sit 
by the bedside of a dying cottager or stand in the pre- 
sence of kings. The mainspring of his power was the 
love of Christ his Lord and Friend. 

His was a long and consistent life of faith and practice 
answering thereto. As Horace says of the iambic line, in 
all his career he was " Primus ad extrcmum similis sibi ; " 
the exact rhythm of his eighty years of sojourn here 
below was saved from monotony by the harmonies which 
penetrated alike his home-life and his public career. 
Truthful, faithful, and fearless, he bore himself bravely 
and placidly in the storm and stress of our time, and has 
left behind him an example which must be helpful for us. 


as we strive to adapt the English Church to the new 
requirements of these later days. 

I owe heartfelt thanks to Mrs. Harold Browne and Miss 
Gore Browne for their invariable kindness and help ; not 
least, for their goodness in relieving me from the task of 
compiling the Index to this volume. I must also express 
my obligation to many friends of the Bishop, who have 
thrown much light on his acts and character. I wish I 
could have made the book as good and interesting as it 
ought to be ; it falls far short ; yet I have done my best, 
such as it is, and dedicate this effort to his ever-cherished 



1811— 1853. 











1853— 1863. 







LIFE AND WORK IN CAMBRIDGE, 1853 — 1864 . 224 


1864 — 1874. 







1874 — 1891. 











PORTRAIT . Frontispiece 

KENWYN CHURCHYARD ...... To foce p. 1 14 




1. **The Fulfilment of the Old Testament Prophecies relating 

to the Messiah." A Prize Essay for the Norrisian Medal 
for 1836. Deigh ton's ; Parker's, Cambridge, 1836. 

2. ** On the Catholic Doctrine concerning the Nature and Person 

of Christ." A Sermon preached before the University of 
Cambridge, Feb. 9th, 1840. Parker's, Cambridge, 1840. 

3. "Daily Prayer and Frequent Communion." A Sermon 

preached at St. Sidwell's Church, Exeter. 1842. 

4. "On the Doctrine of the Trinity and the Duty of Belief." 

Two Sermons preached at St. David's College, Lampeter. 
Parker's, Cambridge, 1846. 

5. "An Exposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles, Doctrinal and 

Historical." Vol. I. Parker's, Cambridge, 1850. 

6. " The Gifts of the Ascended Saviour." A Sermon preached 

at St. Mary's, Truro, on May 27th, 1851, being the 
Triennial Visitation of [Henry] Bishop of Exeter. J. H. 
Parker, 1851. 

7. " Religious Excitement" A Sermon preached in Kenwyn 

Church, on Nov. 23rd, 1851. Netherton, Truro, 1851. 

8. " Peril of Popery and Peril of Antichrist." Three Sermons 

preached in Kenwyn Church, i. On the Papal Aggression ; 
ii. On Antichrist ; iii. On the Prospects of the New Year. 
Netherton, Truro, 1851. 

9. " A Letter on the Revival of Convocation," addressed to the 

Right Honourable Spencer Walpole, M.P. London, 


10. " Exposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles." Vol. II. Parker, 

London, 1853. [Of this work thirteen editions have been 

1 1. " Thoughts on the Extension of the Diaconate." A Paper 

read before the Clergy of the Ruridecanal Synod of 
Powder. Netherton, Truro, 1854. 

12. "Letter on the Eastern Bishoprics." 1856. 

13. Two Sermons preached in Kenwyn Parish Church, on Easter 

Day, 1857 (being farewell discourses on the occasion of 
Mr. Browne's leaving Kenwyn for Heavitree). Netherton, 
Truro, and J. Parker, 1857. 

14. "Seven Sermons on the Atonement and other Subjects," 

preached before the University of Cambridge. London, 

15. "Holy Ground." A Sermon preached in Waltham Abbey 

Church on the 800th Anniversary of the Foundation of 
tha't Church. Deighton, Bell & Co., and Bell & Daldy, 
London, i860. 

16. "The Case of the War in New Zealand." An Appendix in 

defence of Mr. Browne's brother, Sir J. Gore Browne. 
Cambridge, i860. 

17. "The Self-dedication of the Minister of God," an Ordina- 

tion Sermon on Acts v. 4. Cambridge, i860. 

18. "Life in the Knowledge of God." A Sermon preached for 

the Societies for the Propagation of the Gospel and for 
the Promotion of Christian Knowledge in Aylesbury 
Parish Church. Deighton, Bell & Co., and Bell & Daldy, 
London, i860. 

19. " On Inspiration ; " being Article No. 7 in "Aids to Faith." 

London, 1861. Third Edition, London, 1862. 

20. " Messiah as foretold and expected." A Course of Sermons 

preached before the University of Cambridge. Deighton 
& Bell, and Bell & Daldy. London, 1862. 

21. "The Pentateuch and the Elohistic Psalms." (A Reply to 

Bishop Colenso.) Five Lectures delivered before the 


University of Cambridge. London, 1863. Second 
Edition, London, 1864. [The Second Edition was 
issued after Professor Harold Browne had become 
Bishop of Ely.] 

22. An Article on the Conversions to the Church of England, 

in the October number of the Quarterly Review. Murray, 

23. "The Mission Work of St. Paul;" being the Ramsden Sermon 

on Acts xvii. 23, before the University of Cambridge (May 
8th, 1863). Cambridge, 1863. 

24. " The Clergyman in Social Life." An Address by Edward 

Harold, Bishop of Ely, to the Candidates for Orders, on 
Trinity Sunday, 1864. Deighton & Bell, Cambridge, 

25. "An Exposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles;" being an 

American reprint of the Fifth English Edition, supervised 
and edited, with additional notes, by Bishop Williams of 
Connecticut, U.S.A. i Vol., 8vo. New York, 1865. 

26. "A Charge to the Clergy and Churchwardens of the 

Diocese," by Edward Harold, Bishop of Ely, at his primary 
visitation in Oct. and Nov., 1865. Longmans, 1865. 

27. "The Altar, and Lights on the Altar." A Correspondence 

between the Bishop of Ely and the Rev. W. H. Molyneux. 
Longmans, 1865. 

28. " Sacrifice, Altar, Priest." A Course of Letters. Longmans, 


29. Preface to W. M. Campion and W. J. Beaumont's Prayer- 

Book interleaved. Cambridge, 1866. [Has gone through 
eleven editions.] 

30. " A letter on Diocesan Synods," addressed to the Ruridecanal 

Chapters of the Diocese of Ely. Hills & Sons, Ely, 1867. 

31. " Sobermindedness." A Sermon preached at an Ordination 

in Ely Cathedral. Longmans, 1867. 

32. "Exposicion de los trenita e nueve Articulos de la iglesia 

Anglicana, traducido por Juan B. Cabrera." Parts i. — vi. 
London, 1867 — 1877. 


33. "National Responsibility and National Prayer." A Fast 

Sermon on i Kings viii. 30. London, 1866. 

34. "The Retrospect of Forty Years." A Sermon on Psalm 

cxlvi. 5, preached at the 40th Anniversary of the Consecra- 
tion of St. Mark's Church, North Audley Street, London. 
Longmans, 1868. 

35. "The Witness and the Maintenance of the Truth." Two 

Sermons preached at the Consecration of the Parish 
Church of Woburn and Wobum Sands. Longmans, 

36. A Memoir of Dean Lowe, of Exeter, in the Guardian 


37. " A Letter to the Bishop of Tennessee on the Natal Question.*' 

4 PP- Spottiswoode, 1868. 

38. " A Charge to the Clergy and Churchwardens of the Diocese 

of Ely," delivered at the Second Visitation of Edward 
Harold, Lord Bishop of Ely. Longmans, 1869. 

39. "A Speech not Spoken." A Letter addressed to Lord 

Hatherley, Lord High Chancellor of England, on the 
Irish Church Bill. Longmans, 1869. 

40. "Visions of Peace." A Letter to C. L. Higgins, Esq., on 

Revision, Communion, and Comprehension, and the 
Church of the Future. Spottiswoode, 1870. 

4T. "El reino di Cristo sobre la tierra : discurso del Obispo de 
Ely en una junta de la Sociedad Anglo-Continental en 
Feb. de 1867." A Speech by the Bishop of Ely at the 
Meeting of the Anglo-Continental Society, translated into 
Spanish. Rivingtons, 1870. 

42. General Introduction to the Pentateuch, and Introduction to 

and Commentary on Genesis (in the "Speaker's Com- 
mentary"). 1 87 1. 

43. " Conference between the Archbishop of Syra and the Bishop 

of Ely " (on the points at issue between the Eastern and 
Anglican Churches). London, 187 1. 

44. "The World and the Man." A Sermon on Acts ix. 15, 


[preached at the Consecration of St. Paul's Church, 
Gorsfield]. Hills, Ely, and Longmans, 187 1. 
[New Edition of the Thirty-Nine Articles, supervised by 
the Rev. J. Gorle of Whatcote, 187 1.] 

45. "The Parish Deaconess." A Sermon on Rom. xvi. i, 

preached at St. Michael's, Paddington. Longmans, 

46. A Letter to Rural Deans. Ely, 1872. 

47. " Bishops and Cathedrals." A Letter to the Dean of Norwich 

(Dr. Goulburn) on Cathedral Reform. [Noted in Bodleian 
Catalogue as not published.] Longmans, 1872. 

48. "The Strife, the Victory, the Kingdom." Three Sermons 

preached in Great St. Mary's, Cambridge, before the 
University of Cambridge, with an Appendix on Primitive 
Episcopacy. Longmans, 1872. 

49. An Address at the Ely Diocesan Conference. 1873. 

50. "The Old Catholic Movement on the Continent of 

Europe." A Paper read at the Church Congress at 
Brighton, 1874. London, 1875. 

51. "Christ with us." A Sermon preached on Matt, xxviii. 20 

[at the time of the restoration of the lantern of Ely 
Cathedral]. Longmans, 1875. 

52. **The Position and Parties of the English Church." A 

Pastoral Letter addressed to the Clergy of the Diocese of 
Winchester. Longmans, 1875. 

53. "The Bonn Propositions." Speeches of the Bishops of 

Winchester and Lincoln, and of the Prolocutor of the 
Convocation of Canterbury in the session of Convocation 
commencing Feb. 15, 1876. London, 1876. 

54. "La doctrine de T^glise Anglicane sur les Saintes 6critures, 

ou Texposition du VI"® Article de religion de Tdglise 
Anglicane." Being a translation of the sixth Article of 
Religion issued by the Anglo-Continental Society. Riving- 
tons, 1878. 

55. " Charges to the Dean and Chapter, and to the Diocese of 


Winchester." Read at the Primary Visitation of Edward 
Harold, Lord Bishop of Winchester, in April and May, 
1878. Longmans, 1878. 

56. A Sermon (on Rom. xiv. i) preached at St. Peter's Church, 

Eaton Square, London, 1876. [Home Reunion Society, 
Occasional Papers, No. 37.] London, 1878. 

57. "A Charge to the Candidates for Holy Orders at Farnham" 

[printed in a collection of addresses delivered in the 
Advent Ember Week, 1878]. Nichols, Farnham, 1878. 

58. " St. Matthew iv. 8, 9." A Sermon preached at the opening 

of the Church Congress at Swansea on Oct. 7th, 1879. 
J. Hodges, London, 1879. 

59. An Address in New College Chapel (Oct. 14th, 1879), on the 

500th Anniversary of the Foundation of the College. 
(Privately printed.) Oxford, 1879. 

60. " A Pastoral Letter on Parochial Organisations for Foreign 

Missions," addressed to the Clergy of the Diocese of 
Winchester. S. P. G. Clay & Son, 1880. 

61. "The Practical Working of Cathedrals." A Paper read at 

the Church Congress at Leicester in 188 1. J. Hodges, 
London, 1881. 

62. A Sermon preached on the occasion of the visit of the Old 

Catholic Bishops to Cambridge and Farnham. [Printed 
in the account of the visit drawn up for the A.-C. Society.] 
Rivingtons, 1882. 

63. " Antichrist." A Sermon preached at the opening of the 

Church Congress at Reading, 1883. Bemrose & Son, 

64. "Sowing and Seeding." A Sermon preached in Emmanuel 

College Chapel, Cambridge, on the 300th Anniversary of 
the Foundation of the College. University Press, 
Cambridge, 1884. 

65. " An Address on the Advantages of an Established Church," 

delivered at the Church Congress at Carlisle. Church 
Defence Association, London, 1884. 


66. " An Address on Some of the Difficulties of Working Men," 

delivered at the Church Congress at Portsmouth. 
Bemrose & Son, 1885. 

67. "The Doctrine of the Church of England on the Holy 

Communion re-stated as a Guide at the Present Time," by 
F. Meyrick, with a Preface by the Bishop of Winchester. 
London and Oxford, 1885. 

68. " The Difficulty of Private Devotion, and the Aids to it." 

[In " The Spiritual Life," p. 87.] London and Derby. 

69. " Clergy Preaching in Nonconformist Chapels," a Cor- 

respondence between the Bishop of Winchester and 
Canon A. Basil Wilberforce. Hodder & Stoughton, 1887. 

70. " Evil in the World." A Sermon preached on St. John xvi. 

6, 7. [In "The Anglican Pulpit of To-day," p. 35.] 
London, 1886. 

71. "Pastoral Address to the Clergy of the Diocese of 

Winchester on the Present Crisis," 1888. 4 pp. 1888. 

72. "A Farewell Address to the Diocese on the Occasion of the 

Resignation by Bishop Edward Harold Browne of the 
Bishopric of Winchester." 1890. 


OOON after 1 had promised to write this Memoir of 
*^ Bishop Harold Browne, I received the following note, 
which I desire to inscribe on the forefront of this volume : 
— " We should wish the more clerical and episcopal work 
of our dear one to be the prominent characteristic of 
his Life ; he had such a wonderful talent for organising 
work, and for bringing laymen and clergy together, and 
making peace, that anything bringing this forward would 
be perhaps the most valuable." 

The late Bishop was by habitual manner of thought, by 
natural kindliness and sweetness of disposition, by educa- 
tion and by the force of his surroundings, a man of peace. 
He knew his own mind, — no one better ; his principles, if 
somewhat wanting in breadth and largeness, were intel- 
ligible, coherent, logical ; he moved in a well-marked 
middle course, ceaselessly mediating between those whose 
temperaments carried them into one extreme or other; 
and he was therefore always open to the adverse criticism 
of more impatient souls. 

Men of power may be broadly divided into two classes : 
first, those who through life are open to the impressions of 


the day, — inductive souls, ever ready to add to the stock of 
their knowledge, to test their convictions, to modify their 
judgments ; and, secondly, those who early in their career 
grasp some general principles, and use them throughout 
life as bases unshakable, to which they can always resort, 
and by which they judge all questions as they arise : 
these men steady themselves on a priori principles, major 
premises unalterable, laid down as solid foundations on 
which belief and life are built The more inductive minds, 
on the other hand, sensitive to the changes of tone and 
feeling around them, seem often to be swayed by the current 
of events ; they get the credit of being unstable, " ever 
learning, never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.'^ 
Their openness of mind, their honesty of purpose —qualities 
of the highest worth, and rarely met with — naturally 
make them distasteful to good average people, who cannot 
appreciate their sympathetic and broad way of regarding 
things ; to the thoughtless, and to the conventional, who 
are only the thoughtless well developed, they seem quite 
unintelligible, visionaries, who, unsettled themselves, would 
readily unsettle all around them. The more conservative 
minds are either puzzled by them, or have them in horror. 

Men of deductive minds, the other class, when they 
are also men of strong qualities, gain great power over 
their generation, alike by force and by limitation of 
character ; the fact that they have laid down their bases 
of controversy, and fearlessly follow their convictions, lead 
them whither they may, secures for them the respect and 
admiration of the world. In a fluctuating, uncertain 
Society, they are felt to be firmly rooted in their principles ; 
we turn to them with hope and with a sense of relief. 


when doubtful questions rise and the world as it rolls 
along seems near a crisis. These men set out their views 
early in life with incisive clearness, seeing what they see 
without confusion or complexity ; they follow a well- 
marked, coherent course all their days. No wonder that 
they are most highly respected. The more impatient spirits 
are, -it may be, somewhat chafed by them ; but they win 
the confidence of the multitude. If they are masterful 
and ambitious, they become strong party-leaders ; if they 
are gentle and retiring, they are mediators and peace- 
makers, and often have to pay the penalty of those who 
take and commend the middle course; for they arouse 
the anger and scorn of the eager and vehement ; though, 
in the end, all recognise them as benefactors, and acknow- 
ledge the good work they have done. 

Our Bishop, in the main, was one of these last. His 
disposition enabled him to sympathise with many with 
whom he did not agree. His eminent fairness, his sound- 
ness of judgment, his perfectly clear intellect, above all, his 
Christian charity, won for him the affection of thousands 
who knew nothing about his views, and would have 
differed from them fundamentally had they known them. 
It was one of the permanent sorrows of his long life, that 
there should be so many good and lovable Christian 
people with whom he could not act in harmony. It is 
not often the case, but in him it was so,— that in true 
dignity and nobleness his character was higher than his 
principles. Those principles tended towards a certain 
narrowness and limitation of relationships, and prompted 
him to stand aloof from those, however good, who did not 
come up to his standard, whether of orthodoxy or of 


Church government ; and yet so loving and so charitable 
was he, that he refrained from pushing his principles to 
their logical conclusions. He loved his fellow-creatures 
as he loved God ; and was content to hope even where 
he was unable to feel assured. And so, while happily he 
never sought to be a party-leader, his influence over the 
opinions and actions of others was always great and whole- 
some : men felt that here was a genuine Christian spirit, 
moving with a dignified simplicity through the mazes of 
the world ; they discerned something of the character and 
impress of Him who stilled the tumult of the sea. 


1811— 1853, 




EDWARD HAROLD BROWNE was born on the 
6th of March, 1811, at Aylesbury in Buckingham- 
shire, where his parents had been settled for several years 
past. It was an Anglo-Irish, not a Celtic family, a branch 
of the Brownes of the Neale ; they claimed descent from 
Sir Anthony Browne, K.G., standard-bearer to Henry VH. 
and Henry VIII., and one of the executors of the latter 

Early last century Bishop Harold Browne's great- 
grandfather, Mr. John Browne, lived on a good estate in 
County Wicklow. This property, with the profusion and 
easy-going carelessness of an Anglo-Irish landlord, he ate 
up entirely in the course of his life ; and this, as is not 
unfrequently the case, with excellent results. For his son 
Thomas, our Bishop's grandfather, a handsome man of 
great energy and of a wholesome independence of character, 
saw that after idleness work must follow, and resolutely 
set himself to stay the imminent downfall of the family. 
He therefore became an architect, with so much success 
that he not only provided comfortably for himself and 
his children, but was able also to come to the help of 
his poor thriftless father, whom he bravely supported 
with all filial piety during the last years of his life, in 
spite of the scriptural precept to the contrary. 



The architect had four sons: Robert; William, a barrister; 
Gore, afterwards General and Governor of Plymouth ; and 
lastly, Thomas, Vice- Admiral. Of these the eldest, Robert, 
was the father of our Bishop. He was born in 1754, and, 
after being educated for the Bar, at the age of twenty-one 
married the beautiful Mrs. Barrington, General Barrington's 
widow. She was nearly twice his age, and brought him 
no children, but died after nine years of wedded life, spent 
for the most part in France. 

Bishop Barrington of Durham, a kinsman of his wife, 
befriended the young Irishman, and brought him under 
the notice of the Marquis of Buckingham, then Lord 
Lieutenant of Ireland. Lord Buckingham treated Mr. 
Browne with much favour, and when he left Ireland, 
persuaded him to follow him to England. He also secured 
him a post about the King's person, and got him a com- 
mission in the Bucks Militia, in which service he presently 
rose to be Colonel. While his regiment was quartered 
at Weymouth, he became acquainted with the family of 
Mr. Gabriel Steward, M.P., of Nottington and Melcombe 
in the county of Dorset, and on June loth, 1795, was 
married to Sarah Dorothea, second daughter of Mr. 

Shortly after his marriage, Colonel Browne bought 
a house in Aylesbury. In those days it was called 
" Aylesbury House," but is now styled " The Prebendal," 
because it was formerly attached to the prebendal stall 
of Aylesbury in Lincoln Cathedral. Here, and afterwards 
at Morton House, near Buckingham, he lived for about 
forty years. He was a man of ample means, fine presence, 
and courtly manners, much liked and respected in those 
parts ; he was made Justice of the Peace and Deputy 
Lieutenant for the county. 

Colonel Browne was father of five children, two 


daughters and three sons, of whom the youngest was 
Edward Harold, the future Bishop of Ely and of Win- 
chester. Of the two daughters who came before the sons, 
the elder, Louisa, was an invalid from her childhood ; the 
younger, Maria, outlived the Bishop by a few weeks, 
retaining to the close of her long and beautiful life the 
grace, sweetness, and bright intelligence of her youth. 
Some souls never grow old, and bear their years as a crown 
of glory ; they seem to have a hidden power over the 
frames in which they lodge. Maria Browne was a girl of 
fourteen when the future Bishop was born into the world ; 
from his birth to the end of his life she dedicated herself 
to him with a sister's love and almost a mother's devotion. 
It began with the tenderest care and affection in the 
Aylesbury days, and by slow, almost imperceptible degrees 
changed in character, though it remained unchanged in 
depth and warmth. At first she was his protector, his 
teacher and adviser ; in later life she became his most 
devoted and reverential admirer and follower. Nothing 
could surpass the beauty of the daily life led by this 
couple, so deeply attached to one another, so inseparable ; 
"she came to look up to him," says one who had the 
opportunity of watching their daily life, " with a love that 
was truly reverential, which deepened and strengthened 
as time went on, until hand in hand at last they crossed 
the bar." 

When Edward Harold Browne was born in i8i i, all things 
in England were well-nigh at their worst. Napoleon was 
at the height of his power, bestriding Europe ; Wellington, 
his great reputation as yet unmade, lay in the lines of 
Torres Vedras; English home politics were dark and 
uneasy ; the old King was g^ain threatened by mental 
trouble. Men's hearts must have sunk within them when 
they thought of the genius of the French Emperor and 


the vast resources at his command. To the English his 
potent ideas seemed like the breath of a volcano before the 
breaking of a storm of doom ; the instinctive conservatism 
of our insular race regarded Napoleon, his power and his 
ideas, as a kind of incarnation of blasphemy, religious and 
political. It was into this troubled and anxious life 
Edward Harold Browne was born, at the Prebendal House 
in Aylesbury. 

Here, shielded by the devoted care of parents and 
sister, the delicate boy spent a happy and peaceful child- 
hood, surrounded by all the blessings that loving hearts 
could give. It was when he was only three years old that 
the first incident in his life which has been preserved took 
place. Not far from Aylesbury, at Hartwell, the exiled 
King of France, Louis XVIII., with his amiable consort 
and a tiny Court, had settled down, watching in the 
twilight of a not unpleasing retirement the progress of the 
vast drama then being enacted on the Continent of Europe. 
At Hartwell, Colonel Browne, who had lived some years 
in France and spoke French with ease, was a welcome 
and frequent guest One day the King expressed a wish 
to see the little Harold ; and accordingly, at his next 
visit, the child accompanied his courteous father to 
Hartwell. As they entered the room in which Louis, who 
at this time was enormously fat and flabby, was seated 
awaiting his guests, Colonel Browne whispered to his little 
son, " Now go up and kiss his Majesty's hand ; " whereon 
the child, after one glance at the monarch in his chair, 
looked up earnestly into his father's face, and said out 
loud, with the clear voice of an unconscious infant, perfectly 
audible to the astonished King, " No, father, I can't ; it's 
too fat." It cannot be said that, however well seen he was 
in high places in after life, his first presentation at Court 
was an unalloyed success, except perhaps in so far as it 


enabled a monarch to hear that rare thing, the truth, out 
of the mouth of a babe. The child's revolt against the 
fatness of the King did not create any coolness in the 
friendship which existed between the royal exiles and 
Colonel Browne's family ; among the heirlooms which the 
Bishop cherished in after years are two engraved por- 
traits, the one of Louis XVIII. and the other of the 
Duchess of Angoulfeme, which were sent to the Prebendal 
House by the grateful royalties after their return to 

When he was between eight and nine years of age 
Harold was sent to a school at Warfield, in which young 
lads were prepared for Eton. This school, kept by Mr. 
FaithfuU, was very strict and hard ; yet the little lad did well 
there, and Mr. FaithfuU used to say that he was " the best 
boy in the school." The child-life at Aylesbury remained 
for him a fond and cherished memory to the very end of 
his days. In a letter to his dear friend Bishop McDougall 
he tells him that the Duke of Buckingham, who had paid 
him a visit at Farnham Castle, had " engaged us to spend 
the Sunday on our way to Carlisle at Stowe. I shall like," 
he adds, " to revisit scenes which were like fairyland to me 
in boyhood." (September 8th, 1884.) 

We learn that at this first school " little Harry," as his 
kinsfolk lovingly called him, showed a clearness and quick- 
ness of intelligence which gave promise of great future 
excellence. These qualities, in truth, after having stood 
in his way in his schooldays, became most helpful to him 
afterwards. His quickness both tempted him to idleness 
and made him impatient of dulness and drudgery. He 
found the work of teaching very irksome. He reversed 
the usual order of things ; for his pupils were much more 
appreciative of the lucid order, the clearness, the fine 
scholarship and transparent earnestness of their gentle 


tutor than he was of the privilege of arousing and guiding 
their somewhat apathetic minds. This is why, in an age 
when, thanks to Dr. Arnold's great example, the most 
eager and open-minded of the young men sent forth from 
the Universities were turning their whole energies into 
the new field of school work, yearning to carry forward the 
new gospel of " moral earnestness " and " high-thinking," 
Harold Browne deliberately turned his face away from 
scholastic openings, refused tempting offers, and dedicated 
himself heart and soul to the study of Theology, and 
especially to that which was nearest his heart all the days 
of his life, the earnest fulfilment of the duties of a parish 

In 1823, a slim and gentle boy of twelve, Harold Browne 
was transferred from Warfield to the larger life of Eton. 
Here he remained for four years. The School Lists of 
that period show that the College contained a remarkable 
gathering of boys destined to play a part in their country's 
history. In 1826, a year before he left Eton, Harold 
Browne's name appears about halfway up the middle 
division (for he never rose to school-eminence), and the 
name next below him is that of the well-known Christ 
Church tutor, W. E. Jelf. The same list shows, among 
the seniors of the school, the great name of Mr. Gladstone. 
It contains also that of the late Duke of Devonshire, a 
man whose high powers were equalled only by the kind- 
liness and genuine nobility of his personal character. 
There were also two future Governors-General of India, 
Elgin and Canning, and the late Duke of Newcastle, 
Secretary of State for the Colonies in Lord Palmerston's 
Ministry of 1859-65, with other men of note, such as Mr. 
Spencer Walpole, Home Secretary under Lord Derby, 
Mr. Ricardo, Lord Blachford, and Sir George Rickards. 
In addition to these statesmen and politicians there were 


also men destined to make their mark in the Church, 
foremost among whom was Selwyn, Bishop first of New 
Zealand and afterwards of Lichfield, of whom Harold 
Browne, in his last public speech at the Diocesan Con- 
ference at Winchester, spoke warmly, calling him "one 
of the greatest Bishops this Church of England has ever 
known." There stands also the name of Lord Arthur 
Hervey, whose recent death has deprived the diocese of 
Bath and Wells of a much-loved Bishop ; and the original 
and vigorous Bishop Abraham, first Bishop of Wellington, 
New Zealand, one of our Bishop's closest friends, who is 
still living in a ripe old age. To these should be added 
the late Bishop of Tuam, Dr. Bernard ; the Rev. George 
Williams, — " Jerusalem Williams " as he used to be called ; 
and Dr. Goodford, Headmaster afterwards and Provost 
of Eton. There were also some men of letters, though 
none of the highest rank of authorship, such as Lord 
Lindsay, author of the " History of Christian Art " (1847) ; 
Mr. M. J. Higgins, better known as " Jacob Omnium ; " Mr. 
J. H. Jesse, the historical writer ; Latham, the etymologist ; 
C. D. Yonge, the lexicographer ; and Dr. Badham, who 
edited Greek plays. Among these we may very well place, 
for he came into close and daily connection with Harold 
Browne, the celebrated actor, Charles Kean. 

Very few of these are still living. It is consequently 
difficult to fill up the picture of our Bishop's school-days, 
or to reproduce the delicate, sensitive boy, who had 
already begun to outgrow his strength. One, however, of 
his old friends still retains a vivid recollection of those 
early days; for Bishop Abraham, writing from Lichfield 
a short time ago, says :— 

" I had the good fortune to be in the same Dame's 
house at Eton in 1824, and we had the same tutor, 
that dear good man, Bishop Chapman. Edward Harold 


Browne was a quiet, retiring, high-principled boy ; and 
there was he plunged into a house which, without being 
at all ungentlemanlike, was rather Bohemian. Only- 
fancy a knot of boys where Charles Kean, the actor, 
was supreme in the school of arms and the school of 
arts. He kept us all alive. He was the best boxer and 
fencer in the school ; accordingly all the aspirants to excel- 
lence in these departments came to our Dame's to learn 
fencing and boxing, and in the evening we youngsters had 
lessons. But then also he was supreme in the * School 
of Art/ — that art being acting ; and he would act for our 
amusement. Woe betide us if we laughed when we should 
have cried, or failed to catch and applaud his best * hits * ! 
Charles Kean was a very good-humoured fellow, and was 
very kind to us. And then Harold Browne had a pecu- 
liar position towards him ; he was more of the same age 
and place in school, and if Kean was his tutor in boxing 
and acting, Browne could repay him as tutor by construing 
the * Homer ' and * Horace ' lessons to him, and by doing 
numberless verses for him. Therefore, while I and others 
were admitted to the * Galleries ' in the improvised theatre, 
Browne had a ticket for pit or boxes. Anything that now 
seems more incongruous could hardly be imagined than 
the life that went on for Harold Browne's first year at 
Eton ; but .then he passed from the Dame's house to my 
tutor's, which was the most orderly and studious house 
in College. It must have felt like passing out of the 
* still-vext Bermoothes ' into the Gulf Stream. 

" But one trait that he showed at the Dame's he no 
doubt retained at his tutor's, and it was recognised in 
all his after life — that was his goodness, I can bear witness 
to his thorough simplicity and singleness of character all 

It may be gathered from this glimpse of the Bishop's 
boyhood at Eton that he was not on the road towards 
any brilliant success ; nor did he look back on the time 
with that enthusiasm with which elderly men speak of 
their old school and review their happy, careless boy- 
hood. Indeed, as he surveyed it from the secure vantage- 
ground of high reputation and accumulated honours, and 
with the long experience of actual life, he felt keenly the 


waste of opportunities, and consequent loss of power. No 
man ever worked harder to repair that loss and to make 
good the gaps in his early training. Some men work to 
the end and are ever learning, and our Bishop was one 
of these. With his linguistic- gifts and power of ordering 
and expressing knowledge, and his trustworthy, tenacious 
memory, he probably repaired the waste as well as any one 
has ever done. And yet, in the judgment of one specially 
well qualified to have an opinion on the point, the Eton 
days were by no means a complete failure. Writing in 
1845 to ask Mr. Browne to preach his consecration sermon, 
his Eton tutor. Dr. Chapman, just appointed Bishop of 
Colombo, speaks of him as " so esteemed a pupil in former 
days," and he certainly would not have so written had 
Harold Browne been a mere idle, gentlemanly boy. Still, 
it is certain that the easy-going ways of school and college 
were a real source of regret to him in after-life, and were 
ever deplored by him with a beautiful frankness and 
humility. And yet it is also true that the idleness, so 
largely caused by weakness of health, had its advantages. 
The specially English notion that at a public school and 
in college a man learns more from his friends and amuse- 
ments than from his tutors and masters, if rarely true, was 
as nearly true as it ever has been in his case. For his mind 
was finely built, and had the quality which Spenser gives 
to Una : he could walk uprightly in a careless world ; his 
pure heart assimilated only what was good and true ; so 
that the time spent under Charles Kean's friendly eye, 
though it may not have advanced the elegance of his Latin 
verse, or drenched him, like Erasmus' Pedant, in Ciceronian 
phrase, and though it tempted the boy to be often content 
with superficial preparations, still was in itself an education 
of a high kind. It is a great thing to kindle the dramatic 
instincts of a boy ; it was a revelation to the shy and 


somewhat silent lad to discover, by help of Kean's genius, 
that plays are bright gems of language and true works 
of art, — not merely so many hundred lines of dull poetry 
to be deciphered and rendered into baldest prose. The 
hints and interpretations with which Kean favoured his 
young comrade must have thrown a flood of light on 
many a difficulty, illuminating the quickly receptive mind 
of the future Bishop. Throughout his life Hai*old Browne 
retained ah innocent and antiseptic sense of humour ; and 
he saw, as few schoolboys ever see, the comical contrasts 
which come into the way of those who have eyes to see. 
There is one example of the manner in which he recog- 
nised the queerly inverted view of the value of things 
which prevails at school. There was an old " sock- woman " 
who used to sell tarts at the College gates, and if her wares 
did not go oflF to her mind, she used in set manner to 
harangue the youths as they came out of school, on the 
relative merits of her tarts compared with those dry 
crusts which they had been munching in pupil room or 
school. " Now, boys," she would cry to the merry circle 
round her stall, "come, buy some of my sock; how you 
do waste your money ! You go and buy books, and when 
you have read them, there's an end of it ; or spend it on 
a row on the river, and then it's soon over ; but if you buy 
a little good sock, why, that's something solid, that does 
a boy good ! " The Bishop used to narrate the old lady's 
oration with a twinkle in his eye and the keenest relish of 
the lively scene. 

It is probable that his kindly humour, which made him 
excellent company, formed a wholesome antidote against 
the forced solemnity of life which is often a snare to one 
who is surrounded by the ceremonial of episcopal state. 
The Bishop's face, to the very end of his life, was wont to 
light up with merriment if any one alluded to his boyish 


friendship with the great actor. If children were in the 
rcx)m— and he could never resist children — ^he would 
delight to show them how Kean taught him at Eton to 
put a paper skirt on two of his fingers, and then would 
imitate on a table, amid the merry laughter of the 
little ones, the graceful dances and pirouettes of the 
ballet girl. 

Harold Browne also acquired in his school days a power 
of the highest value to a man immersed, as he was, in 
continual business. He learned how to attend to two 
things at once ; so that while he was working at his 
books or, later on, preparing a sermon or a charge, he 
could follow and even take active part in the conversation 
going on around him in the room. As he bent over his 
copy of verses or translations in his room at Eton, while 
Kean stood by reciting and declaiming passages from his 
favourite tragedians, Browne would work on with un- 
clouded mind and unruffled temper, looking up from time 
to time with a smile or an appreciative nod, or answering 
briefly and pertinently to some appeal from his enthusiastic 

It was when he was just about halfway through his school 
days that his loving mother — surely one of the sweetest 
and best of women — wrote of him on the 6th of September, 
1826 (he was then fifteen years old, and at home for his 
summer holidays) : " I must not omit to say that I think 
Harold is sweeter than ever, so amiable and obliging to 
every one, and amuses himself so nicely that it is quite 
delightful. Chemistry is at present his great delight." 
He never let us know that he had pursued this fascinating 
branch of physical study, though it explains how he got 
many of his best illustrations. No doubt this enthusiasm 
for chemistry was but a passing phase, an interesting ex- 
pression of that general keenness and relish for knowledge 


of any kind which marks the development of the mind 
of every quick-witted and gifted boy. 

So passed his school life, side by side with a youth 
destined to win fame on a very different stage ; the one 
boy doing the verses and translations for the other, 
who repaid him fourfold with brilliant declamations and 
friendly enthusiasm for art and poetry. So far as school 
work went the two boys helped and hindered each other 
every day. Thus happily in school and study, by road or 
river, passed the bright Eton days, in which, though from 
lack of physical health and strength he was far from being 
a school hero, he won the goodwill of all. After four years 
of it his parents thought it wisest that he should leave 
Eton and break with the habits of school-life, and obtain 
a quiet year of direct and serious preparation for Cam- 
bridge. He had passed smoothly and rather listlessly 
through these halcyon days, in which he shot up rapidly, 
till he was over six feet in stature ; he spent so much 
vital energy in the process of growth, that there was little 
of it left for lessons. In 1883 the aged Bishop, after a visit 
to Eton, thus refers to his delicacy of constitution in 
youth : — " I had outlived most of my contemporaries. It 
is sixty years since I went there, a fragile boy, twelve 
years old ; for some years after that hardly expected to 
grow up to manhood." Like all public school boys, he 
cherished throughout his life a deep-seated pride in Eton, 
and, with his usual humility, blamed not the lax and 
antiquated system of the school, but his own idleness, for 
his shortcomings during these years. 

His farewell to Eton impressed itself deeply on his 
mind, and he loved to tell the tale of the Headmaster's 
last speech to him. Every boy leaving Eton, as is well 
known, was expected, in obedience to school usage and 
tradition, to call on the Headmaster to take leave of him, 


and to bring with him in his hand (in accordance with an 
ancient custom now happily no longer in force) a paper 
or envelope containing a couple of £$ bank-notes. As 
a rule, after a boy had placed this leaving-tip on the Head- 
master's table, and had received in return the finely-bound 
volume which in after years was to remind him of those 
happy days, he retired as speedily and gracefully as he 
could from the uncomfortable interview, glad that he had 
got through the heartless and expensive formality. But 
what was Harold Browne's astonishment (he used to tell 
the story, his face brimming over with amusement) when 
he had duly presented himself with his offering, and was 
endeavouring to escape out of the dread presence of the 
Headmaster, to find himself solemnly addressed by Dr. 
Keate with, " Go back to your Dame's, boy ; and, when you 
leave, if I find you wringing off knockers or painting 
doors, rU have you back, sir, and flog you ! " And with 
this queer piece of fatherly advice the future Bishop, as 
much amused as astonished, at last made his escape from 
the room, and saw the mighty pedagogue no more. 

The omnipotent birch-rod reminds us of a little story 
of the Bishop's school days. When he had been for some 
time at Eton, a senior boy asked him, " How often have 
you been swished ? " " Not once," was the reply in proud 
humility. " Oh ! how long have you been here ? " Harold 
replied, " Just eighteen months." " Humph ! then you 
ought to be ashamed of yourself." 

He was now sent to a very different scene and to a life 
the opposite of that which he had just been leading. 
Instead of the teeming school, the lively games in playing 
fields, the fascinations of the river, the companionship of 
Charles Kean and Shakespeare, there came a time of 
absolutely serious quietude. His tutor and guide was the 
Rev. R. Holt, who prepared one or two pupils for the Uni- 


versity at a lovely spot called Postford House, about a mile 
from Albury, nestling under the south side of the Downs 
which run from Guildford to Reigate. Postford House 
stands on a little hill not far from the high road, over- 
looking a picturesque sedgy mere, beyond which stretch 
chequered woodlands, rising and falling on the undulating 
ground, and backed up in the distance by the long line 
of chalk hills. Not far from Postford lay the village of 
Albury, with a tiny parish church close to the fine mansion 
belonging to Mr. Henry Drummond, now the seat of the 
Duke of Northumberland. With the waving sedges below, 
and woodlands, hills, and glimpses of the mere, the view 
from Postford windows was as lovely as only an English 
country scene can be. 

Here beside Harold Browne there were two or three 
other pupils, of whom one was a youth who afterwards 
made for himself a considerable reputation by publishing 
a kind of modern Book of Proverbs, Mr. Martin Farquhar 
Tupper, author of a " Proverbial Philosophy " which ran 
through several editions. The Bishop has left us no 
information as to the terms on which he lived with the 
embryo philosopher ; though the two were undoubtedly 
thrown much together during their year at Postford, it 
is fairly certain that no warm boyish friendship sprang 
up between them. Mr. Tupper in " My Life as Author," 
published in 1886, has only this very short reference to 
Harold Browne, a reference which however gives us just 
a touch of the school-boy temper still strong in the 
boys : — 

" I changed to Mr. Holt's at Albury, a most worthy 
friend and neighbour, with whom I read diligently for 
my matriculation at Oxford, when I was about nineteen. 
With Holt my intimate comrade was Harold Browne, the 
present Bishop of Winchester, and he will remember that 


it was our mischievous object to get beyond Mr. Holt in 
our prepared Aristotle and Plato, as we knew that he had 
hard work to keep even in the race with his advanced 
pupils by dint of midnight oil." 

Harold Browne's recollections of Postford are far more 
grave than this ; for in those days he received his first 
strong impressions of religion and of the seriousness of 
life. Early in this century all earnestness and advance 
in religion was concentrated either in the active Wesleyan 
body or in the Low Church movement, then in the first 
flush of growing enthusiasm. The sensitive lad, with his 
naturally religious and thoughtful temperament, could not 
fail to be deeply touched and influenced by his surroundings. 

" I have reason to thank God," he writes, " that I was 
sent there. My mother was a sincere and humble Christian, 
full of the most devoted affection to her children, and had 
done her best to bring them all up as Christians. My 
knowledge of religious subjects, however, was not great ; 
and at Eton I had gained a full share of the idle habits 
of the school. At Postford I was in the house of a truly 
pious man ; his sister, Miss Holt, was one of the best of 
women ; and the rector of the parish of Albury, which 
church we always attended (though it was not the parish 
church of Postford), was the Rev. Hugh McNeile. I was 
greatly struck, as a boy of sixteen, with his fervid eloquence, 
and altogether impressed with the religious tone of the 
society into which I was thrown." 

His mother's letters show how deep an impression the 
Calvinistic (or perhaps one should say the Augustinian) 
theology, which the young man heard Sunday after Sunday 
from the pulpit of Albury Church, made at that time on 
his sensitive and receptive mind. On a temperament natu- 
rally religious, somewhat introspective, and altogether 
earnest and honest, Mr. McNeile's teaching, backed up 
as it was by the sweet zeal and goodness of his tutor's 
sister, fell with great power and influence: the zealous 



pastor himself, noticing the good motions of the young 
man's mind, his gravity, sincerity, and evident seeking after 
truth, paid him some friendly attentions, and for the time 
completely won his heart and confidence. 

" He has," writes his mother, " studied very closely since 
he left us ... on religious subjects, and has imbibed much 
of Mr. McNeile's enthusiasm, and I fear too much of his 
High doctrine not to be dangerous for so young a person, 
and one of his turn of mind ; if not so to himself, it may- 
be so to those he may in future have to instruct, should 
he continue as intolerant as he is at present." 

One can hardly picture to oneself the sweet and charitable 
Bishop of later days thus embracing the stem and un- 
loving Calvinistic theology, though one knows that what- 
ever doctrines commended themselves to his heart and 
intelligence he would fearlessly proclaim and defend, were 
the deductions from them ever so intolerant Mrs. Browne 
goes on : — 

" To me he is all sweetness, and where I cannot go quite 
as far as he does, I will not contradict ; but I am convinced 
much may be done even to the hardened sinner by mild- 
ness, whereas even the anxious enquirer may be frightened 
and disgusted, when these very high doctrines of election, 
etc., are so strongly held and pressed ; and I am very 
fearful they may (whilst he is so young) be injurious to 
himself. The Almighty, who knows all my thoughts, 
knows that my most earnest prayers and wishes are that 
my beloved son may be a faithful minister of the gospel, 
and by the mildness, and at the same time the correctness, 
of his doctrine, be the means of doing good to all those 
committed to his charge. And I do hope and trust that 
when he has studied these subjects a little longer, and is 
a little older [he was then but seventeen], if he has the 
good fortune to fall into the society of some wise and 
good man whose experience on these subjects he will have 
an opinion of, his may be softened down without injury 
to him as a good Christian. His spirits are not high, and 
he is constitutionally nervous to a great degree. I am 


therefore afraid of his dwelling on these very high doctrines, 
till he has acquired more strength of mind and body ; and 
then it will be his duty to search and enquire strictly into 
them, and I would wish him to do so." 

She goes on to beg her daughter to discourage much 
religious discussion at the time ; and, by way of apology 
for such sensible advice, she adds that : — 

" Nothing but the perfect conviction that my treasure 
of a child's nerves are not in a state at present to dwell 
on the higher doctrines could make me wish what I have 
above requested/* 

Again, writing a fortnight later (August 21st, 1828), she 
refers once more to his health and religious anxieties : — 

"He is frightfully delicate," she says, "but sweet and 
affectionate as ever. ... I think you know how truly 
anxious I am that he should be a zealous and active 
clergyman, desirous faithfully to fulfil all his duties. This 
makes me more than ever alive to the necessity that 
he should truly understand the Word of God, and not 
suffer the enthusiastic turn of his mind to lead him into 
error, which may be injurious to himself, and perhaps to 
some of his hearers so perplexing, that instead of leading 
them to Heaven it may drive them to despair. ... I am 
very fearful for his dwelling so much on Election and 
Predestination, and professing himself so strongly to be 
a Calvinist. ... At his tender years his head may lead 
him astray — though I think it is one that, if he is not too 
bigoted, may be likely to do much good. . . . With respect 
to his study of the Prophecies, it is an amusement to him 
and will do no harm, except that I think his dear head 
requires rest. I am afraid Harry so much admires Mr. 
McNeile's manner, that he will endeavour to follow it." 

From these letters it is plain enough that Harold 
Browne, in common with almost every man of religious 
feeling in those days, came more or less under the influ- 
ence, intellectual and spiritual, of the Evangelical school 
of thought. It was the active and forward school of that 
day : the reaction from it as yet had hardly begun. Those 


are fortunate whom a new stream of opinion catches and 
carries onward as on a rising tide. And this good fortune 
came to Harold Browne. After University life had dulled 
the edge of his first enthusiasm, he became aware of a 
very different set of the currents. With the new appeals 
to antiquity and the respect for ordinances shewn by the 
rising party, he contrasted the lack of solid learning, the 
somewhat narrow range of ideas, the slight hold on Church 
order and institutions, evident in the Evangelical leaders : 
though their zeal and earnestness were undoubted, their 
system seemed to him insufficient. And so he soon 
drifted away entirely from those early teachers, while his 
comrade at Postford, Mr. Tupper, remained all through 
life firmly fixed in the principles he had learnt under Mr. 
Holt and Mr. McNeile. We catch a glimpse of the dis- 
tance which separated the two in after life at a moment 
when the layman, whose Philosophy did not altogether 
sweeten his religion, had an opportunity of renewing his 
friendship with the Bishop. Soon after Harold Browne 
had been translated to, Winchester, he undertook to hold a 
Confirmation at Albury, where at this time Mr. Tupper 
was living ; and on hearing that the Bishop was to come 
there, he addressed a letter to Farnham Castle expressing 
in apologetic fashion his regret at not being able to come 
to his parish church to meet and welcome his old friend 
on his first visit to those parts: "the Rector" (Canon 
Dundas), he said, " is such a Ritualist that I seldom go to 
church there." When the Bishop reached the vestry he 
told Mr. Dundas all about this letter and the reasons Mr. 
Tupper gave for not being present, and said something in 
his kind way on the subject ; whereto Mr. Dundas replied, 
" Well, my Lord, Mr. Tupper gave me quite a different 
reason for his absence ; * for,' said he, * the Bishop is a 
very worthy good man, but I shall not go to hear him ; he 


has become a terribly high Churchman ; ' and so, you see, 
he has condemned us both." Whereat the Bishop was 
immensely amused, and dismissed the subject with a 
hearty laugh. This divergence between the old school- 
fellows was of long standing ; so far back as 1849 an Eton 
friend sent Harold Browne a note from Mr. Tupper, with 
the comment, " I send you some of Tupper's papers, and 
his truly characteristic note. You were anything but 
congenial spirits. Distance, however, of time and space 
may possibly lend enchantment to the view and serve to 
remind you of Auld Lang Syne." 

Harold Browne remained at Postford House about a 
year. The sweet spot, the tranquillity of the life, above all 
the unpretending piety and high principle of his tutor and 
the tutor's sister, affected him deeply ; and though later on 
he appears to have disliked the extreme Evangelical party 
in the Church as much as the Liberal school of thought, he 
ever retained that higher sense of duty to God and man, 
that taste for parish work, and those deep convictions as to 
the spiritual nature of religion, which came to him from 
these early surroundings. It was perhaps not altogether 
unfortunate for him that this year of serious work, 
following the happy idleness of Eton, was in its turn 
followed by the undergraduate life at Cambridge. The 
" image stamped upon the clay " was not obliterated or even 
defaced ; it was only covered up with dust. It was also 
good for him that he was not pushed on too fast ; for his 
physical health was still far from good. Had he done 
himself justice at Eton, staying there till he had reached 
the higher and more bracing atmosj^here of the sixth form, 
and had then, at the age of eighteen or nineteen, passed on 
to Cambridge, he would have had greater control over 
himself, and his University career might have been one of 
the most brilliant of his time ; his abilities, his singular 


versatility of powers, the tenacity of his memory, and his 
admirable gift of being able to set out his knowledge 
clearly and with force, would have secured him very high 
honours. It is certain that much of his idleness was due 
to weakness in his young days ; one may go further and 
say that for the actual work of life he might well have had 
a less satisfactory training than was given him by his self- 
granted leisure, his fine sense of fun and humour, coupled 
as it was with an almost feminine delicacy of character 
and thoughtful tenderness for others. Idle he was, never 
frivolous ; lively and merry with his group of friends, never 
tempted into excess. His influence among his school and 
college comrades was far more widely spread and much more 
beneficial than if he had been the recluse, the unpractical 
student, and had taxed — it may be had overtaxed — his 
health and powers in the struggle for the prizes of the 
undergraduate life. Human souls, like fields, are often the 
better for lying fallow. 

Harold Browne did not himself think so ; he always 
deplored the way in which he had missed his youthful 
chances. We do not know what led his parents to fix 
on Emmanuel College at Cambridge for him ; it was not 
an altogether wise choice. He went up thither towards 
the end of the year 1827, and his name stands on the 
Matriculation Roll of the University for the 13th of 
November in that year ; he is not entered on the College 
books as a " Pensionarius " till the 28th of the same 
month. He was then only seventeen years of age, — some- 
what younger than the average freshman, who in those 
days went up, for the most part, at eighteen. 

We have the Bishop's own description of the College in 
his day : — 

" Emmanuel, like Eton, was then a very idle though 
a very gentlemanlike College. I am ashamed to say 


that, notwithstanding all the good impressions of Post- 
ford and Albury, the idle habits of Eton came back 
upon me at Cambridge. Notwithstanding my idleness, I 
had always been very fond of literature and of literary 
society, and felt great interest in mathematics. My tutor 
assured me I could be Senior Wrangler if I would read, 
but I could not bring myself to read steadily, and cared 
more to pull stroke of our College boat, and to have her 
successful in the boat-races, than to take a distinguished 
degree. My classical studies I utterly neglected all 
through my undergraduateship. When it was too late I 
bitterly regretted the time I had lost. I felt that I might 
have done more if I had worked . . . and I determined to 
be a harder working man for the future, and by God*s 
help I became so." 

Happily for us, a few of his undergraduate friends are 
still living, and their reminiscences of Harold Browne's 
Cambridge days help to modify not a little the self- 
condemning tone of the Bishop's words. We gather 
clearly from them how marked was the effect of his 
character on his associates ; how quietly, almost uncon- 
sciously, it raised them to a higher level ; anything 
mean or base in act or speech was often left unsaid or 
undone, "because Browne wouldn't like it." There is no 
stronger influence on the buoyant boyish spirits and 
manners of the average undergraduate than that of some 
comrade who is their equal or superior in all College amuse- 
ments, and gives himself no airs, but is known to set his 
face resolutely and quietly against things unrefined and 
coarse. The lads see in him a sort of reflexion of the 
home life, — of the kindly, pure mother and the graceful 
sisters, whom to shock would be the act of a brute, not of 
a gentleman. As is also so often the case in undergraduate 
circles, the group around Harold Browne admired him 
far more for the unknown force of his latent powers, than 
for the qualities which saw the light ; he would have been 
less of a hero had he worked his best and shunned society 


and won the highest honours. At the University, where 
all the ambitious lads look with feverish interest at the 
chances of the class lists, the sight of a man who ** could 
an he would," but would not, is ever most attractive. It 
appeals to each man's dream-power ; each wishing to win 
a noble place in the lists without losing the present 
pleasure of the boats, the dreamy pipe, the idle morning 
spent in an idle friend's rooms, the lazy stroll, the facile 
piano, the due attention demanded by " the willow," and 
all the hundred charming ways in which the cheerful 
undergraduate wastes the swiftly flying days of his 
University life. To such men their friend Browne was 
something of a hero, the kind of hero who did not tax 
them with too much work or too much self-denial. He 
seemed to those who were only too glad to be " lapped 
in luxurious ease" to be their very pattern man, whose 
manner of life and apparently easy successes they might 
emulate. " The best of both worlds," the world of pleasure 
and the world of work, could they but successfully com- 
bine the two, — where could such a Paradise be found on 
earth as within the pleasant limits of the College walls ? 

Here is a picture of Harold Browne among these 
kindly flattering friends at Emmanuel, drawn by the pen 
of one of his old comrades in boat and lecture-room, the 
Rev. J. Sharp : — 

" The Bishop was one of those people who are never very 
demonstrative, and whose influence for good consists in 
a quiet, reverent calmness of mind and manner, which 
appeals to what is good in others, and tends to soften their 
asperities. I can recall with a vivid recollection our dear 
friend sitting low in an easy chair, with his long, thin legs 
stretched out more than halfway across the hearthrug, 
calmly moderating the keenness of debate, and helping 
the combatants to see some good in each other. His mind 
was always a well-balanced one; he had thought things 
out very carefully and definitely for himself, and had very 


decided opinions, which he calmly and clearly expressed. 
Every one felt him to be a strong man, and his opinion 
had weight with all, whether they altogether agreed with 
him or not. But above all, he was what he always was 
throughout his life, a man of moderation and peace." 

This picture of the College fireside, with the group of 
lively lads around it, the ever animated discussion, the one- 
sided enthusiasm of youth, with the spare figure of Harold 
Browne as umpire and mediator in the midst, carries any 
old University man back to days long past, when there 
was " heart-affluence in discursive talk ; " it pictures for 
us such a scene as Tennyson draws in his fine lines on 
Arthur Hallam in the days of the " Apostles," when after 
wide debate — 

" At last the master-bowman, he 

Would cleave the mark. A willing ear 
We lent him. Who but hung to hear 
The rapt oration flowing free 

" From point to point with power and grace, 
And music in the bounds of law, 
To those conclusions, when we saw 
The God within him light his face." 

— In Memoriam^ Ixxxii. 

And the " long thin legs stretched out more than halfway 
across the hearthrug " were not unseen in later days ; for 
the Bishop had a slow circulation, and loved to warm his 
feet at the fire, till it almost seemed as if the light and 
warmth tempted his limbs to grow still longer. In those 
days, as indeed always, he must have been most excellent 
company ; his courtesy, his modesty and simplicity of soul, 
his ready fund of anecdote, the acuteness of his mental 
vision, which caught the points of any talk, his enviable 
memory and faculty of orderly thought, — all these things 
made him an admirable companion. There is a vivid 
description of him in the Emmanuel life from the pen 


of his most intimate friend, the friend who brought him 
the greatest happiness of his life, Mr. Philip Carlyon, the 
cousin of his future wife. Mr. Carlyon can well speak 
of these College times, the days of the great Reform 
agitation, and the first serious shaking of English society. 
He was about two years younger than Harold Browne, 
and took his degree in 1834, following his friend as 
Tyrwhitt Hebrew Scholar in 1836 : — 

" The charm which hung like a halo round him all his 
life drew to him a large circle of friends at Cambridge ; 
but no one during my five years of residence in College 
saw so much of him as 1. We regularly took our walks 
together ; we pulled together in the same boat. His 
popularity hindered him from being a hard student, and 
the width of his reading diverted him from due preparation 
for his degree, so that his place both in the Mathematical 
and Classical Tripos was no index of his powers. . . . 
When his name appeared so much lower than it ought to 
have been among the Wranglers, some friends advised him 
to go in for the Classical Tripos on the strength of his 
scholarship, which was known to be good. Unwillingly 
and unwisely he yielded to this pressure, and made matters 
worse, having laid aside for two years his classical studies ; 
and instead of improving his position, he was rewarded 
with a Third Class in Classics. His great talents were 
nevertheless well known and appreciated ; and his general 
learning, his deep theological reading, his talking-power, 
and his unfailing grace of manner, were sure to win him 
success. . . . One of his most intimate Cambridge friends 
was Professor John Grote, brother of the historian, whom 
I have heard him call the cleverest man he knew : it was 
a treat to hear these two champions take opposite sides in 
an argument. Grote was massive and impetuous, Browne 
keen and polished ; and what was said in those days of 
Professor Sedgwick and Dr. Graham of Christ's might 
have been said of them : * It was a duel between a sledge- 
hammer and a razor.' 

" In society he was always delightful, always a perfect 
gentleman, cheerful and often playful, though never losing 
his dignity. He was the same as an undergraduate as in 
his after life. His hospitality was unbounded, and two 


such gatherings were probably never witnessed at Ely as 
his reception of Archbishop Lycurgus of Syra and the 
* bis-sex-centenary ' celebration of Ely Cathedral. 

" At College his tall and spare frame hindered him from 
joining in most athletic sports, and, excepting in the boat- 
ing season, his out-door exercise consisted almost entirely 
of constitutional walks, most frequently on the Madingley 
Road, where we often met Airy, who, ten years his senior, 
has now followed him to his rest. Two seasons he was 
stroke of the Emmanuel boat, which long maintained a 
high place, fourth or fifth, on the river. In one race he 
resigned his oar to a former captain, and we got bumped ; 
on another occasion the third boat had bumped the second, 
and we chased the head boat to the winning post, though 
without catching her ; it was a desperate effort on the 
part of a future Bishop of Ely and Winchester to overtake 
the future Bishop of New Zealand and Lichfield {ix. Bishop 
G. A. Selwyn), who was then stroke of the first John's, 
head of the river." 

Many years after, when Harold Browne was Bishop of 
Winchester, he recalls these happy young rivalries, and his 
letter, as a tribute to the high qualities of Bishop Selwyn, 
ought not to be lost : — 

*' Farnham, April x^th, 1878. 

" The death of Bishop Selwyn is a great sorrow to me. 
I remember him well at Eton, as the noblest specimen of 
a manly truthful boy. At Cambridge, as you know, we 
pulled in the races together, and for a time he and I used 
to meet in the councils of stroke oars. I saw the last of 
him on his way out to New Zealand, when he spent two 
or three days at Exeter in 184 1. I have watched him 
through his grand career in New Zealand, and for eleven 
years we have been brother Bishops in England on terms 
of true brotherly regard. He was not free from crotchets, 
or he would not have been a Selwyn ; but I doubt if 
there was a truer, braver, or more disinterested man in 
Christendom — a true hero, the greatest English missionary 
bishop since St. Boniface. May we meet him hereafter 
through the grace of God in Jesus Christ ! " 

Though in his first year Harold Browne won a College 


scholarship, a prize given specially to encourage a pro- 
mising undergraduate near the outset of his time, he failed 
entirely to turn his mind to work. Facility and ability- 
falling short of genius can do most things, if combined with 
self-control and steady habits of reading ; but this was the 
very thing in which the bright youth failed. Quickness 
and cleverness without knowledge are sadly ineffective 
when a man is set down before a stiff Mathematical paper, 
as Harold Browne found to his sorrow when the Tripos 
List was issued and he saw his name low down among the 
Wranglers, in the twenty-fourth place. He proceeded to 
the degree of Bachelor of Arts on January 13th, 1832. 

Throughout his life Harold Browne had an amiable 
weakness for deferring to the advice of his friends ; and 
when the Mathematical List was out, he showed an 
unlucky distrust in his own better judgment, and tried 
another tilt with the Examiners. The years of neglect 
had played more havoc with his languages than with 
his figures; after a short and sharp burst of work, he 
found himself in the Third Class of the Classical Tripos, 
a petty distinction, which, but for the good stuff in him, 
would have stamped him with the fatal brand of mediocrity. 
Instead of this, the failure seems to have stung him into 
a new energy, as a keen cold bath brings tingling life 
into languid and sleepy limbs ; and he set himself with 
all his heart to repair the mischief done. After his 
degree, which he took just before his twenty-first birth- 
day, he went vigorously to work, turning his whole 
attention to the study of Theology and of the languages 
auxiliary to it 

Happily for himself and the English Church, Harold 
Browne was not hampered by lack of means ; . for his 
parents, possessed of a comfortable property, were only too 
glad to give him another chance of winning University 


distinctions ; and the young man himself was now eager to 
do something which might help towards his own support. 
He therefore, with the very best results, stayed on at 
Cambridge, as a diligent and exemplary student. He soon 
proved that his companions' estimate of him was well- 
founded. He worked hard at Divinity, and especially, with 
marked success, applied himself to the study of the Hebrew 
language, which he and his friend Carlyon read diligently 
under the care and tuition of old Mr. Barnard, then teacher 
of Hebrew in the University. His natural gifts and quick- 
ness, now that they had a congenial subject, enabled him 
to make rapid progress. And this was tested before very 
long. In the following year, 1833, the Crosse Theological 
Scholarships were thrown open to competition among 
Bachelors, and Harold Browne won one of them. Next 
year his linguistic studies came into play; we find him 
gazetted first Tyrwhitt Hebrew Scholar for the year 1834, 
after having been " complimented by his Examiners for his 
accurate and extensive knowledge of the Hebrew tongue." 
And lastly, before the end of 1835 he gained the Norrisian 
Prize Essay Medal. This excellent essay was printed. In 
a note to his mother the young essayist, with a touch of 
pardonable pride, relates how — 

"**the Master of Trinity sent for me to compliment me on 
the unusual excellence of my prize essay, and regretted 
that the prize was so inadequate to its merits. He also 
gave me sundry hints about the Hulsean lecture and 
Christian Advocateship, which, as he is one of the Electors, 
is rather satisfactory. The former is worth three hundred 
a year, but is only an annual office ; they are both very 
high honours. I got through my Latin speech with less 
trouble and nervousness than I had anticipated." (January 
31st, 1836.) 

Thus Harold Browne to some extent repaired the failure 
of his Tripos places, shewed that he was making rapid 


and brilliant advance in theological study, and laid solid 
foundations for the high reputation he afterwards justly 
enjoyed as one of the earliest and most trusted members 
of the now rising Cambridge School of Divinity. 

During these years, as Harold Browne tells us in a letter 
to Mr. Carlyon, he took each Long Vacation some pupils 
for a reading party, and seems to have thoroughly enjoyed 
these summer work-holidays. They are an institution 
which fits in singularly well with the tastes and habits 
of young Englishmen : the memory of these fascinating 
outings lingers long and fondly in the hearts of all 
who have been so fortunate as to share in them. " In 
1832," says the Bishop, "we were in Wales; in 1833 
at Inveraray; in 1834 at Ilfracombe ; and in 1835 at 
Heidelberg, and afterwards in Switzerland." As a rule 
a reading party is small, the numbers not exceeding five 
or six ; but so popular was Harold Browne that his second 
group, that which went to the Highlands, was made up of 
a round dozen, eleven pupils and their tall young tutor. 

The first party, which went to North Wales in 1832, 
settled down first at Pwlheli, and then moved to Maentwrog. 
On the subject of this party there exists a letter, written 
four years after by Professor John Grote, the metaphysician, 
who was one of the little company ; it is worthy of being 
quoted because it shows what esteem and affection for 
Harold Browne filled the hearts of all who were brought 
under his influence. The letter is dated only " Sept. 4 " ; 
but as it was written on one of those quarto sheets on 
which, in the quiet days before envelopes and postage 
stamps, laborious letters used to be sent, we have the date 
on the postmark on the back of it, — 1836. 

" My dear Browne, — I think your heart seems warmed 
at the idea of Maentwrog and Moelwyn, and that your 
legs must already be feeling an inclination to move in that 


direction. I hope you will write again, and go over some 
more recollections in your letter; for I think one of the 
chief effects of it will be to make you desire still more to 
see the old places again, and that is what I want you 
to do. ... I do not think you need be afraid of the dissolu- 
tion of the fairy charm, the impression will be the better 
for a little refreshing, — and the charm will be increased 
by the association in the same scenes of your feelings in 
1832 and 1836. It is only when one fancies, from Sir 
Walter Scotfs novels or such, some fine castle or mountain, 
which on inspection may turn out to be a poor hovel or 
hill, that one had better stay at home and confine oneself 
to one's idea of it. I am myself very curious to know what 
I shall think of the mountains and valleys now, which then, 
being the first I had ever seen, impressed me more than 
any others have since. You, I think, were better pleased 
with them than with Scotland, or else you were then in 
a better humour with external nature. And then the 
climate is such an important feature in the landscape, that 
a place where it is always raining, like Inveraray, must 
look horrid. To be sure, it did rain in Wales — as on that 
agreeable day when we of Dolgelly started for the week's 
tour, and soon got weatherbound at Trawsfynydd, till you 
helped us on with a vehicle. But then what a glorious 
walk the next morning up the Vale of Festiniog, and 
thence from Maentwrog to Beddgelert ! Such a day might 
well make up [for] a hundred of wet. Then you know 
we shall just be in Wales at the time of year we were 
travelling about on our way out of it last time — and the 
leaves will look so beautiful and the air so clear. Do you 
not remember the day we left Dolgelley in the car, and 
the walk next day to Llangollen, and church at Wrexham 
in the evening ? Somehow or other, all our most interesting 
walks were on the Sundays. Well, I do not think we could 
have spent them better, whatever we shall have to say 
when we are in the pulpit; and the next best way of 
spending them is writing these remembrances, which I 
hope may have the effect of keeping in a ferment your 
Welsh ideas. I am off from here probably on Monday, 
October 3rd, vid Birmingham or Oxford ; consequently not 
very far from you " [Browne was then at Morton House, 
Buckingham]. " I would come and see you, but considering 
Mrs. Browne's health, if she is not better it will not be 
pleasant to you, and if she is (which for everybody's sake 


I hope may be) you will meet me at Northampton or 
Buckingham, or where you like, and we will be off together 
for the mountains. Never mind Carlyon — make him go too. 
Not that I mean seriously, do not mind your old friend, 
and him Philip Carlyon ; only by all means come to Wales, 
if you can, and we will attack the Principality at any 
point you like, N. or S. — anywhere. Do not be alarmed 
for fear I should bring a Fellowship with me— no danger : 
four vacant, but I have been so idle ; in fact I cannot nail 
myself down, etc., etc., and my fine mind (oh the flattery 
of letters ! People shouldn't say in a letter what they would 
not to a man's face — I never said such a thing in mine 
to you, though with so much more reason) is too fine to fix 
to anything. 

• « • • • • 

" As you will not cross your own writing I presume you 
will not like to read mine crossed, so hoping to hear from 
you soon, I remain, my dear Browne, 

" Your affectionate friend, 

" J. Grote." 

The second reading party took place the following year, 
1833, and led Harold Browne to the Highlands of Scot- 
land, where at Inveraray, side by side with many of his 
dearest friends, he stayed a while, in charge of a most 
interesting single pupil, Matthew Hale, who afterwards 
became the first Bishop of Perth in Western Australia. 
At Inveraray there was a large and lively Cambridge 
party, eleven strong, among whom were J. Grote, Philip 
Carlyon, Joseph Buckley, and other friends. One record 
of their doings survives. Some of the company, joined 
by Harold Browne, essayed one day the ascent of Ben 

" After gaining a considerable height up the mountain 
side," says Mr. Carlyon, "they found themselves caught 
in impenetrable mist, and had to abandon the attempt, 
and turned back. Judging that a stream must eventually 
reach the bottom of the mountain, they followed one for 
some time, till as it grew steeper and steeper Philip Carlyon, 



who was the slightest and lightest of the party, was sent 
forward to reconnoitre. Presently he came to the head of 
a waterfall, the lower part of which was hidden by the 
rocks. To get a view, regardless of the prudent proverb, 
he leapt before he looked, and dropping down some feet, 
alighted on a hog-backed slippery rock ; and then found 
to his dismay that he could neither get down nor climb 
up again. At last his friends came up, and found him 
crouching, looking quite scared, against the face of the 
cliff. A stunted oak tree overhung the chasm, at a few 
feet*s distance ; but it was too far, or rather too serious a 
risk, for him to jump at it from the insecure footing of 
a damp and rounded rock. So the friends held grave 
consultation over his head ; they felt he had not nerve 
enough to hold out till one of the party made his way to 
the village far below, and hastened back with a rope, — tiiey 
were not prepared to tear up and splice their shirts. At 
last they hit on an expedient. The oak bending over the 
chasm was somewhat above the point on which Carlyon 
was standing ; the heaviest of the party was directed to 
climb into the tree and to get on one of the branches which 
overhung the spot, and to bend it down with his weight, 
till it came within Carlyon's reach. Meanwhile Browne, 
as the tallest man of the party, had to catch hold of his 
friend in the tree by the legs, so as to prevent his being 
dislodged by the strain when the lad in peril made his 
jump. The jump was safely made ; Carlyon caught hold 
of both man and bough, and was hoisted up in triumph 
and safely brought to bank." " On another occasion," says 
Carlyon, " we risked our lives by persuading the ferryman 
to take us over to Inveraray in a storm. Midway we were 
shipping seas, and could not tack ; crowds on the quays 
were watching our peril." 

The memory of these days remained fresh in the mind 
of Harold Browne all his life, not so much because of the 
teaching work he had to do, but because of his strong 
pleasure in the converse of intelligent companions, and per- 
haps even more because of his love for the glories of nature. 
He was well-nigh a worshipper of mountain scenery. 

" I remember to this day," — we again are quoting Mr. 
Carlyon, — "the intense and almost choking delight, ex- 



pressed by a gasp, that seized him on his first sight of 
Loch Awe and Ben Cruachan. Another scene that took 
possession of him was the glory of a brilliant aurora 
borealis, that suddenly gleamed over Ben Cruachan at 
midnight, when we were benighted on the Loch, and had 
failed to find our landing-place." 

There seems to have been (though no account of it 
remains) another reading party in 1834, which was 
established at that bright Devonshire watering-place, 

Next Long Vacation he went abroad, and Philip Carlyon 
with him. There is a brief reference to it in Mr. Carlyon's 
hand : — 

"In summer 1835 we spent three months together on 
the Rhine, journeying home through Switzerland. An 
attack of typhoid at Heidelberg so prostrated him that 
the world came nigh being the poorer. The effect of this 
illness weakened him for years. ... I can only sum up 
these notes with my own experience that the secret of 
his power was Love. He was a most loving and lovable 
man ; and nobody could have fully appreciated him unless 
they had seen him at home amidst his family and servants, 
by kindly love setting an example of a perfect Christian 
life. And now to everyone who knew him well his memory 
must be 

" • Dear as the holy sorrow, 

When good men cease to live.*"* 

In the course of the following spring, Harold Browne 
appears to have thought seriously about standing for one 
of the Fellowships which in those days were open at 
two or three Oxford Colleges to graduates of either 
University ; and he went so far as to set himself to collect 
testimonials for the purpose. His aim is shown by a very 
kind letter from Dr. Samuel Lee, then Regius Professor of 
Hebrew at Cambridge, which accompanied a testimonial 
with date of November 12th, 1835. 

* Keble, " Christian Year," 27th Sunday after Trinity. 


" As to advice," he writes, " I know not what to say. 
A Fellowship at Oxford is, beyond all doubt, better than 
mere expectations at Cambridge, which, after all, may 
never be worth much when realised. The Fellowships at 
Magdalen aie, I believe, good. Certainly the College is a 
large one, and on that account worth trying for. At 
Oxford your Hebrew will tell much better than at 
Cambridge, as will also your theology. It is a great pity 
that Colleges generally do not break down that foolish 
consideration of county preference. On the present 
occasion Emmanuel will have more reason, I believe, to 
r^ret your loss, than you will in migrating to Oxford." 

This allusion to " county preference " arose out of the 
fact that at Emmanuel there was but one Buckinghamshire 
Fellowship, and no second Buckinghamshire man could 
become a Fellow there so long as it was occupied ; so that 
Harold Browne's prospects in that direction were blocked. 
How far the Oxford venture was prosecuted we do not 
know ; he certainly was never elected at Magdalen ; nor 
are we anywhere told that he went up to the sister 
University to push his candidature. It would be idle to 
speculate on what might have followed had he been 
thrown into the very heart of the young Oxford Movement, 
with his theological knowledge, his deep respect for 
primitive antiquity, and his habit of forming a careful 
judgment and adhering to it tenaciously. Whatever 
might have been the result, it is certain that his direct 
intervention in the movement would have had a calming 
and steadying influence on the development of events. 
It might have fallen to him to be the means of restoring 
confidence and a clear direction to the party after the 
heavy blows it received from the secession of Newman 
and others of the leaders. 

The severe shaking which the Heidelberg drain-fever 
inflicted on Harold Browne's constitutioh appears to have 
disinclined him for any more ventures in the way of 


reading parties ; there were no more of them for him after 
1835. There were also other reasons for their discon- 
tinuance ; after putting on his M.A. gown, on April 3rd, 
1835, he found plenty of work at home. For in the spring 
of 1836 his father died ; and his mother, who had been 
ailing some time, fell into health so weak that he was 
unwilling to be far from one for whom he ever cherished 
the warmest and most filial affection. Indeed, Mrs. 
Browne needed all the care and time he could give ; her 
health steadily grew worse, until before the end of the year 
she passed away in stedfast hope and confidence, and the 
peace of a firm and simple faith. Her death, coming so 
soon after that of Colonel Browne, was a terrible blow to 
her tender-hearted and affectionate son. To the end of 
his life he spoke of his mother with deep reverence and 
love : his aflTection for her was, as it deserved to be, one 
of the very strongest influences of his life. When both 
parents were thus taken away in 1836, the home of so 
many sweet memories at Morton was inevitably broken 
up. The eldest son, who had been invalided home from 
Burmah, established himself with his two sisters in a 
pretty old house, Rushden Hall, near Higham Ferrers in 
Northants. Here they lived very comfortably for about 
nine years, after which time, their means having become 
more straitened, the house was given up, and the two 
sisters found hearty welcome under the hospitable roof 
of their brother, then Vice- Principal of Lampeter. From 
that moment to the time of their deaths the two sisters 
always had a place at their brother's fireside, and followed 
him faithfully and lovingly from point to point of his 
distinguished career. 

The year 1836 marked Harold Browne's more definite 
entry into the public life of his University. Hitherto he 
had done some little work for his College, Emmanuel ; 


now, as a young Master of Arts, he had become eligible 
for more responsible posts, and was invited to enter on 
more important fields of work. Thus, he was invited this 
year to become tutor and, if he took Orders, Chaplain, of 
Downing College ; and at almost the same moment Dr. 
Archdall, Master of Emmanuel, asked him to undertake 
the Sadlerian Lecturership, a College office with no higher 
duties than the instruction of the Second Year's men in 
Algebra and the Freshmen in Euclid ; he also undertook 
the College Greek Testament Lectures. 

These lectures were easily combined with his light work 
at Downing College. He had to move thither in the autumn 
of 1836; and the undergraduates, contrary to the custom 
of Colleges, which as a rule wisely discourages testimonials 
to tutors on their departure, presented Harold Browne 
with a fine copy of St Augustine s works, as a mark of the 
beneficent influence he had already begun to exert on all 
who came under his teaching. 

He was probably glad to retain some hold on his 
own College when he adventured himself so far out of 
the University world as to the precincts of Downing. For 
that College then had, and has always had, an odd exist- 
ence peculiar to itself and apart from the rest of the 
University. There it stands aloof, with buildings rather 
like a rambling country-house than a college, resting 
placidly in green and level meads, which recall to mind 
some gentleman's park, far from towns and noise and 
intellectual strife. Here it seemed to slumber peacefully, 
untouched by the growing turmoil of the town, and care- 
less of University excitements and struggles, the temporary 
home and refuge of a few men who, for one reason or 
another, had passed the usual undergraduate time of life, 
and were constantly a continual source of wonder and 
amusement to the intolerant youth of twenty years, who 



seem to regard a young man of thirty as a grey-beard, and 
are, consciousl}^ or unconsciously, unsympathetic and even 
insolent towards him. Not a few were the gibes and jokes 
attempted by the undergraduate world when Harold 
Browne, tall and thin as a lath, entered on his untried 
duties at Downing. The men there all appear to have been 
his seniors, some being married ; and he, with his youthful 
looks, seemed like a boy among them : they declared 
that he was fulfilling the scripture, that " a little child shall 
lead them." And there was truth in it ; Harold Browne's 
accurate knowledge, his beautiful courtesy and instinctive 
power of bearing himself so as to command attention and 
respect, at once won the esteem of his odd flock, and he 
gained without difficulty their confidence and affection. 

At this time we get another example of the difficulties 
to which his boyish appearance exposed him. In the 
summer of 1836 he was selected to examine the upper 
forms at Rugby ; and went thither to Dr. Arnold's house 
to cany out his engagement. No sooner was the examina- 
tion over than one of those stories which are the joy of the 
undergraduate mind began to circulate in Cambridge. It 
was said that immediately on his arrival at the School- 
house he was shown up into the Headmaster's Library, 
where his brother examiner, Mr. Claughton, was already 
established. He and Claughton had never met; and the 
latter looking up from his book, beheld a tall stripling 
somewhat bashfully entering the room ; he at once jumped 
to the conclusion that this was a sixth form boy, quietly 
ordered him to sit down at the table, and handed him an 
examination paper. In vain did Harold Browne protest, 
the inexorable Oxonian would not be induced to loosen 
his grasp until Dr. Arnold had been sent for to vouch for 
the truth of his declaration that he was not a victim but 
a brother examiner. This tale long ran current at .both 


Universities ; and after the Bishop had been translated to 
Winchester, Dr. Millard, Vicar of Basingstoke, reminded 
him of the story and asked him whether there was any 
truth in it. In reply the Bishop said : — 

"The story is nearly true. It was in 1836; I was a 
young M.A., young of my standing" [he was not yet 
twenty-five] " and younger in my looks. Claughton and I 
met, dressed for dinner in Arnold's drawing-room before 
any one else was downstairs, I think, and we talked to one 
another. He took me for a sixth form boy, invited me 
to dine on the first day with the examiners, and talked 
kindly to me, as to one who needed patronage and 
encouragement. He did not give me a paper of questions, 
as it was not then the time of questions. He was much 
amused when he found that I was his brother-examiner. 
He has often referred to it since we have iJeen brother 
bishops. We vowed eternal friendship there.. I hope it 
will prove eternal indeed!" 

The little tale is a charming picture of the man : one 
can see that no one could resist the unaffected kindliness 
which showed through every word and act of his life ; his 
fellow-examiner discovered quickly enough that under the 
boyish and modest exterior there was a sterling and trust- 
worthy comrade, whose only desire was to do justice, and, 
if possible, gracious justice, to all whom he had to examine 
and judge. His sound scholarship and accurate memory, 
his courtesy and conscientiousness, made him an admirable 
examiner ; though he might sometimes have been almost 
too forbearing, remembering his own former idleness. For 
he never could be severe in judgment ; if he could not 
speak well of a man, he kept silence instead of condemn- 
ing. I never heard him say an unkind word of any one. 

There is still living an old pensioner of Emmanuel, 
Mr. Charles Mortlock, who was "Gyp*s boy" in the 
College when Harold Browne was there ; he can still call 
to mind how in 1836 he carried the young tutor's house- 


hold goods across from Emmanuel to Downing, and 
established him in his new quarters. He also remembers 
that Mr. Browne used to be called Mr. Brown-e, as a 
dissyllable, to distinguish him from sundry other Mr. 
Browns in the College and University. Mortlock was 
very emphatic when asked about his master's ways ; his 
face quite lighted up as he said, " Yes, he was always very 
generous to everyone ; I can well remember that if I, as 
his Gyp's boy, had done him any little bit of service, 
there was always a piece of cake or an apple or summat 
for me." Mortlock also stated that when Mr. Browne left 
Downing the undergraduates presented him with a hand- 
some piece of plate as a token of their gratitude and 
regard ; thoUgh it is not unlikely that the old man was 
thinking of something of the kind rather later in his 
career. " He always treated everyone alike," he added, 
'* and was a real gentleman ; he was still delicate in the 
chest in those days, and always wore flannel ; " and as a 
last little reminiscence he informed me that Mr. Browne 
and Mr. Edge used to take their daily walk together along 
the Trumpington Road. Mr. Edge, who is still living, 
took his degree from Emmanuel College two years later 
than Harold Browne, and was one of his most intimate 
and lifelong friends. He has furnished one or two 
touches, which bear on this period of Harold Browne's 

*' We were very intimate," he says, " at College ; so much 
so that he gave up rooms in a distant part of the College, 
and took rooms in my staircase, opposite to mine, that he 
might be close to me. So again, in our * Squire' days," 
\i.e.y while yet unordained] "we were fast and furious 
correspondents, and I had at one time literally carpet 
bags full of his letters to me," — letters, I fear, all lost or 



FOR some years past Harold Browne's mind had been 
turning more and more towards Holy Orders. The 
general seriousness of his disposition, his facility as a 
linguist, and the clear definiteness of intellect, found 
plentiful scope for their exercise amid the intricate 
problems of dogmatic theology. Few young men, per- 
haps, have been better fitted by character, capacity, and 
training for clerical life ; yet it is strange to see what 
difficulties, many and vexatious, he had to surmount before 
he could even win his way to a bishop's examination table. 
In 1834, when he was but just of age for Deacon's Orders, 
he applied to Dr. Sparke, Bishop of Ely, and received in 
reply a formal letter to the effect that a University scholar- 
ship could not be taken as a title for Orders ; but that 
if he were to become Fellow of his College, or should 
wish to act as a curate within the diocese, all preliminary 
difficulties would disappear. Soon after he made another 
attempt on the Bishop, offering himself this time not as 
University scholar, but as Subtutor to his College. Again 
he received an unfavourable reply ; the Bishop cannot 
entertain such an application unless Mr. Browne can show 
him that the College statutes require the Subtutor to be 
in Orders. After these rebuffs, Harold Browne appears to 
have desisted for a time; it was not till April 1836 that 



we find him again making application to a bishop. He 
then wrote to Dr. Kaye, Bishop of Lincoln, from Morton 
House, Buckingham, offering himself as a candidate for 
Orders. He had no claim whatever on the consideration 
of the Bishop of Lincoln, beyond the fact that he was 
living at Buckingham, which was in the ancient diocese of 
Lincoln. He did not suggest that he would take work as 
a curate in that diocese. A letter from his mother throws 
some light on it Writing on the 8th of March, 1836, she 
speaks of her son's birthday, and says it was the anni- 
versary of " that day that blessed me with one of the best 
and dearest sons that mother ever possessed. . . . May 
you, my beloved," she continues, "have a happy and 
prosperous year, and be blessed with an increase of health 
and strength to enjoy every blessing the Almighty may be 
pleased of His great goodness to bestow upon you. A 
good son maketh a glad father — how happy and grateful 
ought I to be who am blessed with five good and affec- 
tionate children." Then she suggests that he should apply 
for ordination to the Bishop of Lincoln : " I shall be very 
glad if that can be accomplished, for I think it will be 
a comfort to my dear son on many accounts." 

The Bishop's reply says simply and curtly that it is 
impossible ; that he does not accept Fellowships as titles, 
except in the case of Fellows of King's, " that College being 
a portion of the diocese of Lincoln." 

As, however, Harold Browne's duties at Downing were 
supposed to be coupled with the Chaplaincy to the College, 
it became necessary once more to try the Bishop of Ely. 
And here he met with a fourth rebuff. The Bishop replies 
that he doubts whether the Chaplaincy is a permanent 
office ; at any rate iie can hardly believe that it is per- 
manent enough to serve as a Title for Orders, and moreover 
he adds that he is not prepared (even supposing that it is 


a Title) to accept any man as a candidate for Orders, unless 
the post he proposed to fill carries with it a stipend of at 
least £7$ a year. This was very disappointing : to many 
it would have seemed as if the hand of Providence were 
pointing in some other direction, and indicating that the 
aspirant was a man not fitted for Holy Orders. Heirold 
Browne had happily a wholesome dash of obstinacy, and 
persevered. On the 7th of September, 1836, he addressed 
another letter to the Bishop, which ran as follows : — 

" My Lord, — I have to apologise to your Lordship for 
asking ordination at your hands under rather unusual 
circumstances ; but 1 trust that when I have detailed them, 
you will consider them such as to warrant your acceding 
to my request. I am Assistant Tutor of Emmanuel College, 
Cambridge, an office which I have now held two years. 
I took my degree of M.A. in July 1835. 1 am at present 
excluded from a Fellowship by a restriction which prevents 
two persons of the same county from being Fellows at the 
same time, and the Senior Fellow is of the same county 
with myself. As however he fully intends to take the first 
good living that offers, and the Master and Fellows have 
kindly expressed much anxiety that I should not resign 
my present situation, I feel it incumbent on me to reside. 
Your Lordship will perceive that these circumstances pre- 
vent the possibility of my obtaining a curacy or other 
strictly legitimate Title for Orders, and at the same time 
that I cannot but feel the great disadvantage of entering 
late on my intended profession. 

"In this situation I have resolved to plead to your Lord- 
ship what is virtually equal to a Fellowship, though not 
a real Title according to the canon law. The Subtutorship 
which I hold is in value ;^I20 a yeai*, which, I presume, is 
as much as the endowment of many Fellowships. I also 
have just held (what has sometimes, I believe, been con- 
sidered a Title) two University Scholarships, viz., the Crosse 
Theological and the Tyrwhitt Hebrew scholarship, the 
former of which I have, however, resigned. I am aware 
that they are not necessarily a Title, but I submit to your 
Lordship that they are in accordance with the spirit, though 
not the letter, of the canon law ; and I trust your Lordship 
will see that the object which I have in view is not emolu- 


ment but the desire of becoming early accustomed to the 
duties of my profession, and therefore, if possible, a more 
useful member of it. 

" I have to apologise for troubling your Lordship with so 
many details, which were, however, necessary to explaining 
my case ; and I have the honour to be, my Lord, 
" Your Lordship's 

" Most obedient humble servant, 

"Harold Browne." 

It must be allowed that this very reticent letter, in which 
there is no hint as to his views on religion or theology, or 
any words shewing the high view he certainly took of the 
sacred obligations of a clerical life, was not very well fitted 
to convince or move the Bishop of Ely. There had been a 
change at that Cathedral : Bishop Sparke was no more, and 
his place had been taken by Joseph Allen, formerly Bishop 
of Bristol ; who appeared at first just as unwilling to meet 
Harold Browne's wishes as his predecessor had been. He 
wasted no time over his reply ; it was despatched from the 
Cloisters, Westminster, on the day on which he received 
the application. In it he takes no notice of Mr. Browne's 
arguments and appeals, and replies in the hardest and 
briefest terms : — 

" Sir,— I am sorry to say that, consistently with the 
rules I am obliged to lay down in regard to titles for Orders, 
I cannot ordain you upon your Assistant Tutorship. 
" I remain. Sir, 

" Your faithful servant, 

«J. Ely. 
"Harold Browne, Esq." 

Bishop Allen, however, appears to have made some 
enquiries respecting Mr. Browne ; for a few days later the 
Bishop addressed another letter to him, in which he says 
he had learnt that the Chaplaincy at Downing College 
was a statutable office, and also that Mr. Browne was a 
man of reputable life and excellent character. He there- 


fore waives his objection and overrides his " rule," and is 
willing to admit the young man as a candidate for Orders. 
Harold Browne's reply is as strange as the rest of the trans- 
action. As one reads it one is tempted to say : Here is a man, 
already notable at Cambridge, and pointed to as one of the 
most rising of the younger Masters, a man destined to be pre- 
eminent hereafter as a parish priest, as a learned theolo 
gian, as a pattern bishop, obliged to sue at the Bishop's 
gate almost in fonna pauperis. He is accepted after much 
demur and difficulty, as a great favour, and now he has to 
beg for a relaxation of the rules as to admission ; he is 
diffident as to his knowledge of the very rudiments of 
Theology. He writes with a modesty all his own ; a less 
honest and more prudent man would have held his tongue. 
He petitions for a relaxation of the Bishop's rule of three 
months' previous notice; he humbly confesses that he is 
** not prepared for a particular examination in Divinity." 
It is probable that when he penned these deprecatory 
lines his stores of theological knowledge exceeded those 
of the prelate before whom he was to appear, and who 
replied with gracious condescension, " I could not in the 
common course of things have admitted you on so short 
a notice, whatever had been the conveniency to Downing 
College, had I not had special information about you, on 
which I could place good reliance ; " and he continues 
with a warning that he must "read professedly" for 
Priest's Orders, ending up with a hint that no more back 
doors or other irregularities would be allowed ! 

And thus Harold Browne's approach to Holy Orders 
was fenced round with difficulties, as if he had been some 
young fellow of idle habits or profound ignorance. We 
may, however, safely believe that from the moment 
Bishop Allen came into personal communication with 
him, all suspicions and reluctance vanished away. Edward 


Harold Browne's name stands on the roll of those who 
were ordained Deacons by Bishop Allen on the first 
Sunday in Advent, November 26th, 1836. 

We have now reached a point in our Bishop's life, at 
which it may be fruitful to pause a moment and consider 
the principles on which he built up his belief and ruled 
his days. These matters once settled, he never again felt 
obliged to reconsider them, but remained fixed in his 
orbit to the end of his life. This, though it gave a certain 
want of freshness to his mental development, made his 
career consistent throughout; new views of life and of 
the relations of men with God and with one another 
affected him comparatively little ; the structure he had 
built was coherent, logical, leaving no room for later 
additions, no opening for fresh decoration and adornmenL 
The Bishop's learning and power of exposition gave great 
weight to the moderate and conservative position which 
he thus took up and maintained to the very end. Every 
one knew at once what side he would take ; his utterances 
were well-balanced, tinted by a sweet charity ; and the 
Church naturally loves and honours so consistent a 

We have seen how deeply in his younger days at 
Postford Harold Browne had been influenced by the 
Calvinistic teaching he had listened to in Albury Church. 
Puzzling questions as to the problems of life, the relations 
between the human soul and its destiny, the mystery of 
freewill and necessity, matters which have ever occupied 
thoughtful souls, crowded on the young man's mind, and 
filled it with dark anxiety. The cry " De profundus," which 
rose from his troubled heart, and deepened his naturally 
strong sense of personal responsibility, long received no 
answer ; the impressions of Postford, in spite of the lively 


and often thoughtless surroundings of College life, often 
darkened his soul, and led him to picture himself as 
dwelling in a world ruled by an offended Deity. 

The essential matter in the Aiigustinian theology is 
the direct relationship between man and God. It asks 
solemnly, "deep calling unto deep,'* How is it with your 
soul ? Are you one of God*s called and chosen ? If so, 
all is well. Be not presumptuous : " strait is the gate, 
and few there be that find it." There is a simple and 
somewhat awful directness about this theology. It takes 
no heed of the intermediaries which frail man would fain 
place between himself and his Maker. The Church is but 
a messenger of the Divine decrees, not a way of access to 
a loving Father. The feeling of the all-pervading power 
of God crushes our weak sense of individual freedom and 
responsibility ; in some mysterious way life is so planned 
that men get all the discredit of their evil deeds, which 
they are free to do, while if there is any good thing in 
them, it is not theirs. The gentler theology of the school 
which Mr. Simeon first, and then his lieutenant and 
follower Mr. Carus, long led at Cambridge, a theology 
which appealed to the more affectionate qualities of his 
character, did much to modify the early impressions of 
Postford Hill ; and he retained throughout his life a grate- 
ful remembrance of their goodness. His shrinking from 
their party in after life was due, not to any doubts as to 
their sincerity and piety, but to his conviction that they 
had not grasped certain principles which he deemed essential 
to the life of the Church. 

We do not know by what steps his mind freed itself 
from the bonds of Calvinism. He doubtless detected in 
the leaders of it a want of cultivation and an unwillingness 
to recognise the claims of learning. Many a pulpit in 
those days resounded with denunciations of carnal know- 


ledge and worldly literature. Puritanism has ever looked 
askance at the wisdom of this world ; and this ill-will 
towards intellectual life must have been most distasteful 
to Harold Browne, with his strong love of letters and keen 
appreciation of the masterpieces of classical scholarship. 
Their vehement protests against the world, their treatment 
of all things not strictly religious as snares of Satan, 
must have shocked the man who had so lately been the 
companion of Charles Kean in his studies of our dramatic 
literature. Above all, Harold Browne soon observed that 
the denunciations of worldly learning did not conceal the 
fact that there were huge blanks in the teacher's own 
knowledge ; and that the School was indifferent to many 
thoughts and convictions included in the idea of a Church. 
They had little grasp of the historic bases of Christianity. 
It was to them a Divine revelation of God's will, retold in 
each generation for the heirs of salvation ; not the steady 
growth of the Church, that great family of God in Christ. 
And lastly Harold Browne's linguistic gifts, turned as they 
were towards the special study of the sacred texts, brought 
him into direct collision with those who too often seemed 
to think that the English Version of the Scriptures was itself 
a direct verbal revelation not to be touched by the pro- 
fane hand of criticism. Much as in after life the Bishop 
shrank from the bold views of those who handled the 
criticism of the Bible, and recoiled from a movement of 
which he could not see the outcome, still he had thought 
about the problems calling for solution, and was too 
strong and too learned to be content with the shutters with 
which pious people try to keep the light of the sun off 
the sacred flame. And so he soon diverged on this side 
from the old friends : not because he had less belief in the 
sacred texts, but because he had come to deal with them 
as a scholar. And there were other lines of difference : as 


he studied the fabric of the early Christian Church, the 
form of a mighty institution rose up before his eyes. 
Personal questions, even that deep mystery of the salvation 
of souls, began to take a more subordinate place. As he 
thought more about the general conception of a Christian 
Church, "built upon the foundation of the apostles and 
prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief comer- 
stone," the individual grew less prominent, the social fabric 
loomed larger and more magnificent, as he looked. And 
with the grasp of this conception came a more solemn view 
of the importance of the two Sacraments of Baptism and 
Holy Communion, and a strong belief in Episcopacy as 
the only right governing-power in the Church. And to 
these thoughts, as they revolved in his mind, he found 
little or no response from his old friends. They were too 
particularist for him ; the life of the Christian community 
was, he thought, omitted from their scheme. At any 
rate the relative sizes and proportions of things seemed 
different to him and to them. 

And so Harold Browne made the one great change of 
his life, and passed from the older Evangelical school 
to the new and enthusiastic party now rising, through 
clouds of suspicion and dislike, into prominence. The 
change once made, his moderation hindered him from 
pushing forward with the party ; so that he was in the 
main the same in 1890 as in 1836, when he first knelt 
before the Bishop of Ely at his ordination. In his farewell 
address to the Winchester Diocesan Conference, in October 
1890, he makes allusion to these early days. He describes 
his yearnings after a firm and intelligible basis for his belief 
After alluding to the diverse shades of opinion in the 
Church, he refers to his own eager search for a primitive 
foundation ; in which he followed those Anglican divines^ 
Hooker, Jewel, and others, who appealed back from Rome 



to the first three centuries of the Christian era, and urged 
that the Church of England should return to primitive 
practice. Then, he continued, came the "Tracts for the 
Times," which he had gladly accepted, because they too, 
in the main, advocated a return to primitive Christianity. 

" Something," he says, " of the kind was in the air before 
Newman arose, a great genius, to put it into form and 
shape. I can well remember that some pf us in our early 
studies had our minds directed by the teaching of primitive 
antiquity ; some of us not moving in the same direction — 
at least not springing from the same principles — as the 
Oxford school went upon." 

Again, speaking of the study of the English Reformation 
divines, he says : — 

" What struck me at first was that they all referred to 
primitive antiquity ; that their great arguments against the 
Roman Church were derived from the writings of the 
Fathers. My own mind was so directed : I took — feebly 
it may be, but still I took — to the study of primitive 
antiquity and of the early Fathers from that time Then 
came out the * Tracts for the Times ' ... no wonder that 
many of us were very much struck and carried away by 
the zeal of the Tract-writers, because they so turned our 
attention, especially to the primitive antiquity which we 
had already learnt to honour. I wish I could think that 
they and all their followers had still adhered to the 
principles of primitive antiquity." 

And that these principles were firmly fixed in Harold 
Browne's mind at this early period of his life and expe- 
rience is very clearly seen from the following letter to his 
eldest sister, on the Roman controversy : — 

*' Exeter, April 9M, 1842. 
"My dearest Louie,— I should much like to meet 

again Miss , though I have no time to buckle on armour 

needful for encountering the argument of her priests. But 
those who humbly and sincerely seek for truth cannot 
fail to be interesting and edifying companions. I quite 


agree with her in thinking the majority of the Oxford 
writers in the British Critic^ etc., * very Roman.' Perhaps 
I do not agree with you in your inference. Nor indeed 
do I think that it is much proof that they are Romish, 
that the members of the Roman Church think them so. 
The latter have been used to esteem all Protestants, 
and the English Church among the rest, what many 
Protestants are, heretics of the deepest dye — little better 
than the rationalists of Germany and Switzerland. Even 
the English they believed to be contemners of all Sacra- 
ments, believers in the Church merely as a State religion, 
and the clergy as well-educated laymen. Therefore we well 
know the Pope was delighted with Hooker's * Ecclesiastical 
Polity,' and declared it a book of most profound learning 
and piety. Therefore we know the Roman clergy, many 
of them, have been wont to say that our Reformers, Cranmer 
and Ridley, were much more nearly Roman Catholics than 
Protestants such as the English clergy of our day. So 
that if in our days Church principles had been revived no 
more strongly than Hooker and Andrewes revived them 
in their day, or even than Ridley would have held them, 
and did hold them, in his day, I should have fully ex- 
pected that as of course there would be a cry of Popery 
(as there was against Hooker) ; so the Roman Church 
would have hailed the revival as an incipient return to her 
ow^n bosom. So that no cry of Popery among Protestants, 
or welcoming from Romanists, moves me one whit in my 
judgment concerning the learned writers at Oxford. Still, 
in my very worthless judgment, they are now doing almost 
as much harm as when they first wrote I believed they 
were doing good. They now no longer aim at reviving 
the doctrines and discipline of the primitive but of the 
middle-age Church ; and whilst they justly condemn the 
errors which infect most of the Reformed Churches, and 
from which the Church of England has not utterly escaped, 
they yet seem to overlook (herein I do not include Dr. 
Pusey, who protests earnestly against them) the monstrous 
errors which the Roman Church has solemnly recognised 
as her own in the Council of Trent as well as in her 
general practices, especially the fearful interposing of other 
mediators besides the One between God and man. So 
long as they strove to revive only the great doctrines of the 
early Church, which had been forgotten, I was thankful for 
their labours ; so soon as they strive to palliate errors, 


even with good motives, I distrust them. Perhaps hardly 
ever has truth been revived without its advocates running 
into extremes. At the Reformation, when unhappily 
there was sadly little humility anywhere and terrible self- 
seeking almost everywhere, very few escaped this danger. 
Hooker was the first great reviver of sound doctrine 
amongst us, and his work must always stand first on 
the list of English Divinity. Probably there was less 
appearance of running into extremes at that revival than 
in any that has ever taken place, though then, as at the 
Reformation, the revivers were called on to become martyrs, 
and in very many cases confessors, more to be admired 
and having more to go through than most martyrs. It 
is remarkable that he who most nearly of all approached 
to an extreme, and who (except his royal master) was 
most signally a martyr — I mean Archbishop Laud, — yet 
was so far from Popery, that I believe all competent judges 
have considered his 'Answer to a Jesuit* the ablest and 
most powerful work ever written against Rome. Then 
came the Puritan reaction, which of course I cannot con- 
sider as merely running into extremes, as I believe it was 
almost without mixture of good. After the fierce sway of 
Puritanism was over — at least as persecuting as Rome ever 
was — there arose another revival, and, among the non- 
jurors, this too led to extremes, though never to anything 
like Romanism. Then came a reign of dull lifelessness, in 
which not only Church doctrine but all Christian doctrine 
seemed lost. The revival of truth came from without the 
Church, even from dissenters ; — ^happily their piety was 
imbibed by some of the clergy, and with it the revival of 
the most important Christian truth, the doctrine of the 
Cross. Unhappily that doctrine was too much viewed 
subjectively as benefiting us, to the exclusion in some 
degree of the even more important objective view of it, 
as a work great in itself and to be the means of leading 
us out of self and to a contemplation of a belief in Christ 
Himself, and not only of the benefits we derive from Him. 
I have, however, no doubt of the good service done by 
those who replaced the theology of Paley by that of 
Newton and Scott, though the latter was defective. We 
had then lost all sight of the great doctrines connected 
with our privileges as members of Christ and as having 
the real presence of our Lord vouchsafed to us. We had 
quite forgotten the doctrines of Communion of Saints, of 


bearing the Cross, of the efficacy of the Sacraments, and 
of the mysterious awfulness of our own nature as members 
of one great whole, the Body of Christ and Temple of 
the Holy Spirit. All these doctrines are to be found in 
our Liturgy in the writings of the Primitive Church, and 
in those of the best of our divines before the Revolution 
[of 1688]. Such, in the first instance, the Oxford writers 
were reviving. They have run into extremes, as might 
perhaps be expected of men brought up in such an age as 
this, when self-discipline has been wholly untaught ; and as 
I think the ill state of the Church just before the Reforma- 
tion was much the cause of the errors of many of the 
Reformers, so I believe the low state of opinion and 
practice among us now is responsible for the extremes into 
which all people at present seem inclined to run, in what- 
ever direction they are searching for truer and better things 
than the food on which they have hitherto been fed. As, 
however, the errors of Luther and Calvin, which I think 
monstrous, do not in the least degree prevent me from 
believing the Reformation a necessary thing, and a protest 
against Popery most indispensable, so neither will the 
errors of any who advocate certain positive truths prevent 
me from esteeming those truths essential, as much as I 
esteem the avoidance of Popery as essential. I therefore 
in all these troubles hope to be able to fall back on what 
I believe the nearest approach to Divine Truth to be found 
in the present unhappy state of the Church, ?>., not the 
opinions of Cranmer or Ridley or Laud or Pusey, of 
Luther or Calvin, or any name you like to mention, but the 
doctrines of the Church in England, as they are embodied 
in the Prayer-Book. I take them to be the best comment 
on Scripture I have ever met with. I deeply lament that 
at present our position separates us from the Churches in 
communion with Rome, and from the imperfect Protestant 
Churches of the Continent. Perfection in a National 
Church 1 never expect to see till the whole Church is 
again made " One in Christ " — if that happy time is ever 
to be brought about in this world. I feel, however, (I hope 
a humble) confidence that with all its blemishes the English 
Church is the purest in the world ; miserably indeed 
defective in discipline, and so producing but a very partial 
effect towards the sanctifying of its members, yet still the 
purest and best ; and I thank Him who is the Head of His 
Church that He has cast our lot where we have less to 


puzzle US than we should have had elsewhere, as we can 
see the excellence of that ordinance which God has 
appointed for our souls, and not be tossed about from one 
to another in order to find at last repose. I do not, how- 
ever, wish to conceal that I am most exceedingly distressed 
at the divisions of Christians, and the utter want of unity 
even in the bosom of our own Church, and withal the 
almost total suspension of all spirit of charity and even 
decency among many controversialists. At first the 
Oxford writers were singularly free from bitterness, but 
latterly some of them —though with most honourable 
exceptions — have manifested a spirit of sarcasm and want 
of courtesy most unbecoming sinners when writing on 
subjects so sacred. 

" I have thus given you, dearest, at full length my view 
of the present state of affairs, in no spirit of controversy, 
but that you may see what I think of them. That there 
are earnest and sincere Christians among Roman Catholics, 
among the Oxford writers, among the Low partyJn the. 
Church, and among dissenters too, I am most happy to 
hope and believe. I trust, though not one yet in body, 
we may be made perfect hereafter in One, though truly I 
feel it ^. fearful t\\\ng to say that we are not one in body 
as well as in spirit, when the Apostle says there is but One 
Body, and asks, * Is Christ divided ? ' But \ do _thin k that 
the religion prevailing among the great bo3y of nominal 
Christians in the Church of England is no religion at all, 
but rather a mockery of all truth and a defiance of all piet>% 
I am sure it is now a time to be increasing in prayer for 
the spirit of a sound mind ourselves, and for unity in 
Christ's Church for which He shed His precious blood, and 
which by His grace will hereafter be presented without 
spot. God bless you. 

" Ever, dearest, I trust, your brother in the Lord as well 
as in the flesh, 

"Harold Browne." 

We may pause at this point to note the bases of his 
scheme of life and of belief. Where, as in the case of the 
claims of Established Churches, he appeared to draw his 
convictions and arguments from the life of the Church in 
times later than the first three centuries, there was indeed 


a seeming abandonment of his general principle, on the 
ground that the theory of National Churches had brought 
into prominence and sanctioned relations between Church 
and State which did not exist in the early days of Chris- 
tianity. With this exception, Harold Browne followed 
the theology and Church government of the three earliest 
centuries of the Christian era ; appealing first to the Bible 
and then to the Primitive Church for his authority in all 
he said or did. 

His life and belief acted on one another. This is always 
the case ; the historic element ever modifies the intel- 
lectual. And the beautiful qualities of his character, and 
consistency of his life, arrested in some cases the logical 
development of his principles, in other cases strengthened 
the force of the doctrines he held so clearly and commended 
with so great a power of persuasion. Deep beneath all 
lay a firm belief in the love, the goodness, the providence 
of God Few are the souls which really believe in God, 
recognising His presence in the world, not as a fierce 
avenger but as a loving Father.' Harold Browne was one 
of these ; from childhood upwards, a pure and godly man. 
No doubt his kindness led him into mistakes ; the luxury 
of generosity often led him to help unworthy objects. 
This, however, was a very venial and even a lovable 
fault ; perhaps the worst that can be said of it is that it 
was unfair to others, and that it sometimes encouraged 
genteel beggary of a very unwholesome type. There was 
too in it a touch of the patronage with which the " upper " 
are always tempted to spoil their communications with the 
" lower " ranks of society. Harold Browne could see the 
popular difficulties of the time ; he was deeply interested 
in the working-man questions which have now become so 
prominent He regarded these matters with the kindly 
eyes of one who, passing through squalid, crowded streets, 


sees the misery there and longs to carry consolation into 
the dark places, yet still does not allow his Christi an 
brotherhood to obliterate the accustomed divisions of 

The principles by which his course was guided were 
mainly these. First, he felt a genuine loyalty for Holy 
Writ, which he regarded as the ultimate rule of faith and 
practice. Next, in face of the difficulties surrounding the 
careful study of the Bible, he asked how the authority 
of Scripture could be upheld, and its true interpretation 
secured. To this question there are three replies : one of 
the well-known type, which denies our right to doubt or 
criticise, and holds that Holy Writ carries with it a con- 
viction of its own, — in other words, that the Bible is to be 
accepted on the internal evidence alone ; a second solution 
seeks to bring the external form of the revelation under 
the laws of evidence to which we subject all our knowledge, 
and by which we pronounce books genuine or not according 
as they satisfy the canons of sound criticism ; and thirdly, 
there is the theory of those who hold that neither internal 
evidence nor external and historic proof is sufficient (regard 
being had to the extreme gravity of the issues), but that 
God has created His Church to be the guardian of the 
faith, the bulwark and interpreter of Holy Scripture, and 
that we must appeal to authority and tradition for our 
faith. Harold Browne took a middle course. He saw 
that there was truth in all three views. He was deeply 
impressed with the intrinsic power of Revelation, and 
acknowledged the happiness of the man who trod those 
inner courts, undisturbed by the questionings of the world 
without At the same time, he was large-minded and 
strong enough to recognise the existence of real difficulties, 
and to see that objectors are not to be waved aside as if 
they were people of the Korah tribe, presumptuous in 


Stepping in where the authorised priests alone might tread. 
Against inquiry and fair criticism he never said a word 
— he was prepared to deal honestly with all honest folk ; 
and his mind was singularly well fitted for the study 
of evidences, and the weighing of claims for and against 
doctrines or passages of Scripture, or interpretations read 
into the words of Holy Writ by the exigences of formal 
theological systems. We may not think his Essay on 
Inspiration his happiest effort : at any rate it is a thoroughly 
fair and honest statement of the views and conclusions at 
which he had arrived. In the third theory as to Scripture 
he took even more interest For his mind rested firmly 
on the fabric of the Church ; and he was willing to regard 
it as the guardian and depository of the faith and of the 
Holy Books. On the other hand, he had no sympathy 
whatever with the Roman theory, even as it was modified 
by the " Irvingite " or " Catholic Apostolic " Church. He 
was willing to give great weight to tradition ; but when 
he found dogma so developed, as, if not to contradict 
Scripture, at least to require ingenious adaptation to it, 
he at once fell back on the view that the ultimate authority 
lies in the Scripture itself, not in the Church, which had 
often failed to interpret it correctly. To his mind the very 
conservative attitude of the English Reformers was most 
acceptable ; he refers again and again to their clear protest 
against the mediaeval theory of faith and religion, and is 
never weary of laying it down that the basis of his faith 
is Christ the Redeemer and Teacher, as displayed in Holy 
Writ, and as expounded in the first three centuries of the 
Christian era. This gave him on the one side his scheme 
of doctrine, on the other side his scheme of Church govern- 
ment ; and both these he desired to test by the authority 
of Scripture and the utterances of the primitive Church ; 
nor did he hesitate to apply the well-known formulary of 


Vincentius of Lerins, "Quod semper, quod ubique, quod 
ab omnibus," as the test of all his principles. It is a 
formula the full application of which is hardly possible,, 
so soon as we have passed from very early times ; and 
even then the " ab omnibus " must often, as has been said 
in scorn, mean the judgment of the majority. But without 
pushing this view of unity too far, Harold Browne saw 
that in the main it provided a fairly solid ground on which 
to build up the theory of the Church, and that it enabled 
the Reformed Church of England to reject accretions of 
doctrine and use which could be shown not to belong to 
the days in which the New Testament was written, or to 
the earlier ages of the Christian faith. 

Perhaps the most marked feature of the Bishop's scheme 
of belief was his unshaken confidence in Episcopacy as 
the one plan of Church government which can be traced 
back to apostolic days in an unbroken line. The first aim 
of the Oxford Movement was to reassert this episcopal 
theory of the Church, treated federally ; each state having 
its own Church, and each Church presided over by its own 
Bishops, and no two Bishops being permissible in one 
place. It accordingly became Harold Browne's object to 
assure Churchmen that their faith rested on the faith of the 
primitive Church, and was in all essentials identical with 
it ; and also that the Apostolic Succession has continued 
unbroken in the English Church, in spite of the confusions 
of .the Reformation period. That the English Church of 
to-day is the direct successor of the early English Church ; 
that in the main its doctrines and theory of discipline are 
the same ; that it has always protested against the inter- 
ference of Rome : these were among our Bishop's most 
cherished postulates. Closely attached to this federal 
scheme of Episcopacy was the desire for a " Reunion 
of Christendoni." In theory every Church desires to be in 


communion with all other Christian bodies. We profess to 
desire that the Church throughout the world should be one ; 
while at the same moment we raise our own barriers against 
the fulfilment of this desire. The Greek Church stands 
apart, not consenting to accept the " Filioque " clause ; 
the English Church does not see her way to remove those 
words from the Creed ; the Roman Church will hold no 
communication with those who are not of her obedience ; 
and so on. The Anglican theory in turn excluded the 
non-episcopal bodies, as it held that the vitality of a Church 
depends essentially on its form of government. Sur- 
rounded with these difficulties, Harold Browne was hard 
pressed between principle and feeling. It was very painful 
for him to regard whole breadths of his fellow-countrymen, 
the nonconformists, as outside the pale of the Church, 
consigned to vague " uncovenanted mercies." Perhaps, 
though he never went away from his principles, he closed 
his eyes to their more severe application, ;and while he 
could not recognise these irregular bodies, forbore to 
think of them as doomed, or, at any rate, as in more than 
grievous peril. 

This sketch has been drawn out somewhat at length, 
because this was apparently the critical time in formation 
of our Bishop*s principles and opinions. 

Harold Browne was at the time of his ordination tutor 
of Downing College, and soon also became Chaplain there. 
In addition to these duties, he, acted during his diaconate, 
as volunteer curate in a country parish in Cambridge- 
shire. This was Fen Ditton, a little village a few miles 
below Cambridge, on the river as it runs towards Ely. 
Here he preached his first sermon, and made his first 
essays in pastoral work. In after years he would relate 
with great amusement how, coming out of church on 
Trinity Sunday morning, after having preached as clearly 


as he could on the topic of the day, an old woman stopped 
him in the road to thank him for his " beautiful sermon ; " 
** for/* said she, quite earnestly, " I never did see so clear 
before how there were three Gods"! 

His sojourn at Downing College lasted only a single 
year. In October 1837, Mr. Wellcr, who then held the 
Buckinghamshire Fellowship at Emmanuel, took a College 
living, so vacating his Fellowship. And, before the close 
of the year, Mr. Browne was unanimously elected as Mr. 
Weller's successor. 

** This," says his sister Maria in a letter dated November 
28th, 1837, " will render him very comfortable, and was much 
needed, for he was working himself to death for a pittance 
that would not keep him out of debt, — ^and he has no 
expensive indulgence except a few books. I fear from his 
letters he is far from strong, but hope when his mind is 
more at rest his health will improve." 

Thus, before the close of the year, to the great gratifica- 
tion of his old friends, he was once more happily esta- 
blished in Emmanuel College, and resumed his place as 
Assistant Tutor. Next year, while he was still Junior 
Fellow, the much more lucrative post of Senior Tutor of 
his College was given him by the Master, Dr. Archdall ; and 
this office he held till his marriage in 1840. A passage 
in one of his letters shows the view he took of his new 
duties : — 

" I think I may say," he writes of this period, " that I 
strove, more than was the custom among tutors of Colleges 
then, to infuse a religious tone into my lectures and into 
my intercourse with the young men of my College. I 
always looked on my College as if it were my parish. 
My pupils almost invariably treated me with great kind- 
ness and respect, I may almost say with affection. The 
students of Emmanuel College twice testified their good- 
will towards me ; once by presenting me with a handsome 


copy of St Augustine's Works, when I moved to Downing^ 
and afterwards by giving me a large silver salver when I 
married and left Cambridge." 

At the Advent Ordination (December 3rd, 1837), 
Harold Browne was admitted to Priest's Orders, with his 
new Fellowship for a title. And thus he blossomed forth 
into the full-blown University Don, and for about three 
years worked hard at the problem of the discipline and 
education of undergraduates. The letter quoted above 
testifies to the deep religious principles underlying all 
his endeavours; it shows us that even in these earlier 
days his heart was far more set on religious influence 
than on the ordinary courses of College lectures ; it could 
already be seen that if any call towards parish work came 
to him, it would hardly be resisted. And yet those years 
were very valuable to him. He learnt how to put his 
knowledge into clear form, so that exposition of whatever 
he was called on to teach became natural to him from 
this time. 

And now came that which is the turning-point of every 
true man's career— his meeting with and engagement to his 
future wife. No man ever went through less of romance 
before marriage ; no one ever was mated with a more true 
and loving helpmate. It was in the vacation of 1838 
that Harold Browne first met Miss Elizabeth Carlyon, 
who exerted so sweet and healthy an influence on all 
his future life. In 1838 he went down into Cornwall to 
pay a visit to his intimate College friend, Mr. Philip 
Carlyon, who was at that time at his uncle's house at 
Truro. During his short visit, though he did not openly 
declare himself, he saw quite enough of Miss Carlyon to 
make him desire to see more ; so much so, that when the 
summer vacation of 1839 came round, he found it necessary 
(at least so he professed) to make a second visit to Corn- 


wall, that he might see something more of that picturesque 
county. Whatever might be the pretext, there is no 
doubt that the real attraction was the lady whom he had 
admired the year before. He accordingly once more 
accepted the ready hospitality of Dr. Carlyon's house, 
and arrived there soon after the beginning of the long 
vacation. Dr. Carlyon was a man of note in the West 
Country. Like many of his forefathers, he was educated 
at Pembroke College, Cambridge. In 1798, soon after he 
had taken his degree, he was elected Travelling Fellow 
of his College. After three wander-years as Fellow, 
Mr. Carlyon returned home, and in 1806 forfeited his 
Fellowship by marrying his cousin. He then took his 
M.D. degree and settled in Truro as a fully qualified 

" Here he was universally beloved and respected. He 
was a J. P. for town and county, and when he retired from 
practice in 1849 he spent his life in promoting whatever 
seemed to him to be likely to benefit his neighbours. He 
was a friend to many useful charitable institutions. He 
died in 1864 ^^ the ripe age of eighty-seven, having lived 
to see his son-in-law, to whom he was deeply attached, 
promoted to the bishopric of Ely." 

The Carlyons are a very ancient Cornish stock. Lysons, 
in his History of Cornwall, says : — 

"This family has been settled at Tregrehan, in the 
parish of St. Blazey, more than three centuries. It is most 
probable that they were originally of the same family as 
the Carlyons of Carlyon in Kea, which * Barton ' belonged 
to a family of that name at an early period." 

Things went very smoothly ; long before the visit ended 
the young tutor had asked Elizabeth Carlyon to become his 
wife. No difficulty or objection seems to have been raised. 
After the engagement had been made public they spent 


some time together, first at Truro, and then at Tregrehan, 
the home of Miss Carlyon's uncle, the head of the family. 
There they learnt more and more to recognise each other's 

" The time," says Mrs. Harold Browne, " went much too 
quickly, as Mr. Browne was obliged to return to Cambridge, 
and we did not meet again till just before our marriage. 
In the meantime our correspondence was very constant, 
although each letter at first cost thirteenpence. Before 
however the year was over, we had (and doubtless made 
full use of) the benefit of the penny post, then first 

Few couples have had so little opportunity for sweet 
communings in the interval between engagement and 
marriage: the rides through Cornish lanes in the 
vacation of 1839 were almost their only chances. Yet 
the marriage was very far indeed from being one of the 
" marry in haste, repent at leisure " kind. Both dis- 
positions were sound and true ; there was nothing to 
hide on either side ; and probably they understood each 
other better than many a couple who have had years of 
courtship without discerning the difficulties which lay 
before them. As both were in earnest in their Christian 
calling, both full of the most genuine Christian charity, 
both prepared to make the best of everything in the 
wedded life, and hand in hand to face danger and sorrow 
as well as peace and joy, — their short courtship was the 
fair frontispiece to the solid volume of their half-century 
of faithful unity in Christ and in each other. 

And if there had been any doubts, they must surely 
have been swept away when the household at Truro 
entertained an angel unawares in the unlikely person of a 
rather crazy Irishwoman. For it had come to the ears of 
an old servant and pensioner of the Brownes, that her 


"dear Master Harold" had got himself entangled in a 
love affair : — 

" Your name and writing," says an old friend, " induced 
us the other day to pay a little attention to a very interest- 
ing poor Irishwoman. . . . We proceeded from buying 
matches to giving her a breakfast, and succeeded well in 
making the poor creature forget her cares for an hour or 
two; and she has promised to visit us again. I never 
heard so much of your history before as she imparted to 
us — nor was 1 before aware that you had so much Irish 
blood in your veins. The poor creature is very grateful 
to you and your sisters." 

And this "poor creature" was the assuring angel who 
came to the house at Tregrehan. She had been, in the 
old Aylesbury days, a kind of " hen-wife," taking care of 
the poultry and yard-pets of the family, and had been 
kindly treated by all. Harold had been her special 
favourite, and after the break-up of the home she grew 
restless, being rather unsettled in mind, and took to a 
roving life, visiting from time to time the houses of her 
old friends, " to see how they were getting on." And now, 
having heard of the engagement, she tramped all the way 
from Bucks to Cornwall, selling matches and sleeping in 
sheds and under trees, till at last she reached Tregrehan, 
where Miss Carlyon's uncle. General Carlyon, treated her 
kindly, and was not a little amused by the poor creature's 
talk and enquiries. Old Mary's anxieties were completely 
set at rest by her visit to Cornwall ; she gave her hearty con- 
sent to the match. The little incident is trifling, save in so 
far as it throws a light on the kindly and patriarchal ways of 
both families, and proves that the loving qualities of Harold 
Browne's character won full sympathy from his wife's kinsfolk. 

During the nine or ten months of this happy engage- 
ment two proposals, both highly gratifying to Mr. Browne, 
and both indicative of the great esteem and confidence he 


had inspired in the minds of all with whom he had to do, 
were made to him ; either post would have enabled him 
at once to marry, both were carefully considered and both 
firmly though gratefully declined. The one offer probably 
tempted him but little ; he was asked in November 1840 
to become Head of the Training College at Chelsea, a 
post afterwards offered to and accepted by Derwent 
Coleridge. The work of a schoolmaster, and still more 
that of a trainer of teachers, was one for which he felt no 
vocation, and he seems to have declined it at once. The 
other offer was far more tempting ; it was the Headship 
of Bishop's College at Calcutta, a Theological Seminary 
in which young men, mostly Hindoos, were being pre- 
pared for missionary clerical work in India. His sister, 
on April loth, 1839, writes that : — 

" Harold has just declined a very flattering offer by the 
advice of his friends, who all thought that the exertion in 
such a climate as Calcutta would kill him." 

His letter to his sister shows with how cool a judgment 
he treated this grave and interesting offer. There is not 
in it a touch of feeling. He neither refers to his engage- 
ment nor does he seem to have been affected by the 
strictly missionary aspect of the question. He weighs 
the matter dispassionately ; he has no call to go, and 
sees no difference between training young men destined 
for parishes and other occupations in England, and the 
forging of the weapons with which new battles are to be 
fought against the vast forces of half-civilised heathendom 
in India. Disappointing as the point of view is, there can 
be no doubt that the decision, without being heroic, was 
quite prudent. 

'• Emmanuel College, March i^tA, 1839. 
" My dearest Molly, — I write this evening that I may 
not keep you longer in doubt, to say that I have dcter- 



mined not to accept the offer of Bishop's College. I have 
taken all the counsel I can get. Carlyon and Blunt are 
both in Cambridge at this moment, and they, as well as 
all my friends here, are against my going. Your letter 
therefore decided me against it. I have of course had 
some anxiety on the subject, as I fear I have caused you 
much. But I believe I have determined rightly in not 
going. I cannot write what I think or feel on the subject. 
1 trust I am not influenced by selfish motives in taking 
my present course, and I can only pray that I may be 
made more useful in my present and future stations than 
I should have been had I gone to India. After all, it is 
doubtful whether the Head of a College containing twenty 
or thirty candidates for the ministry in the Colonies is so 
much more useful a sphere than the tutor of a College 
consisting of forty or fifty candidates for the parochial 
ministry in England. If this be a right statement of the 
question I think the doubt is considerable. 

" Your most attached brother, 

"Harold Browne." 

These offers, although they were rejected, appear to 
have quickened his desire to take to parish work. And 
so, when a sole charge at Stroud in Gloucestershire was 
offered to him by Matthew B. Hale (afterwards Bishop 
of Western Australia), at that time Vicar of the Mother 
Church at Stroud, he consulted those so deeply interested 
in his movements at Truro, and finding that there would 
be enough to live on, and that Miss Carlyon was willing 
to make the venture, he accepted the offer, gave notice 
of resignation of his College duties, and made ready to 
qualify himself for his new work by bringing with him the 
best helper and comrade he could have chosen, his bride. 

Edward Harold Browne and Elizabeth Carlyon were 
married at Bath on the i8th of June, 1840 ; at the earliest 
moment at which he could get away from tutorial work at 
Emmanuel. His pupils, who even in the short time during 
which he had been in charge of them had learned to value 
and to love him, marked their esteem and regret at his 


going, by combining together to present him with a very 
handsome piece of plate, dedicated to him "in suos se 
penates recepturo," on going away to set up house for 

The sole charge of a lately consecrated church, Holy 
Trinity, Stroud, with a district of the parish conventionally 
assigned to it by the Vicar, began a new era in Harold 
Browne's life, and may be said to have fully confirmed him 
in his preference for practical rather than educational 
work. To the end of his days he looked back on his 
brief sojourn at Stroud with gratitude and pleasure. The 
new wqdded life, the solemn charge of what was really a 
parish, the first undertaking of all the fatherly duties and 
responsibilities of a parish priest, the beauty and healthi- 
ness of the valley in which Stroud lies, and lastly the 
intelligence of the manufacturing population, all com- 
bined to leave on the new curate's mind an excellent and 
lasting impression. And Stroud received Mr. and Mrs. 
Browne with kindliest welcome. No one was a truer 
friend to the young couple — then or afterwards — than was 
the Vicar of the parish, Mr. Hale. To him we owe a 
graphic picture of the new curate's work and life in his 
new home, which I venture to print in full: — 

" My dear Sir, — I now reply to your letter, written at 
the suggestion of Mrs. Harold Browne, to ask for infor- 
mation about the late Bishop's residence at Stroud. 

** I am not at all surprised to hear that you find nothing 
about it in the documents already in your possession. In 
the first place the late Bishop was in that parish only a 
very short time, and in the next place, so far as one knows, 
his work there was not in any way linked with any later 
steps in his career. It was, if I may so say, an episode in 
his career. It was the beginning of his life as a married 
man, and the beginning of his work as a parochial clergy- 
man ; and I am rejoiced to have Mrs. Browne's testimony, 
now lately givep to me, that the episode was a happy one. 


" Stroud might fairly claim to be considered a pleasant 
parish to work in. The population was about eight thou- 
sand ; mostly labouring people or mill-hands connected with 
the different woollen cloth manufactories. They were for 
the most part decently housed. The mill-owners, and 
other well-to-do people, were extremely warm-hearted and 
kind, and they desired to make things pleasant for their 

" The late Bishop had, as a separate charge, a new 
church, consecrated only a few months before he came, and. 
by private arrangement, a separate district connected 
with it. 

" I need not say how greatly I was helped and supported 
in my care of the parish by having so able a man and 
a dear friend at that district church. It must be also 
equally needless for me to say that he made his mark in 
the parish. I will mention only one illustration. Thirty- 
years after the time I have now been speaking of, viz., in 
the year '72, I met at Sydney, in the drawing-room of the 
Bishop of Sydney, a very worthy person, who had left 
Stroud when I was there to emigrate to New South Wales. 
This person produced, for my inspection, a testimonial which 
he had received from his employer, and upon the same 
sheet of paper were added a few commendatory words 
from myself, with my own signature. He had kept up 
his interest in Church matters at Stroud, and asked me 
a variety of questions about men and events, and one of 
his questions was this : * And who was that tall gentle- 
man who used to preach such very good sermons ? ' My 
pleasure may be imagined when I made answer, * That 
tall gentleman now occupies a distinguished place amongst 
the English Bishops.' " 

At Stroud the young couple lived in a house, called 
"Tower Hill House," which, as Mrs. Browne says, 

" was great only in name, except perhaps in the size of its 
porch, which one of our friends used to say looked as if it 
could carry away the house on its shoulders ; but there 
was a beautiful view of the rich hills and vales round 
Stroud from its windows, and the inhabitants of the dis- 
trict were a particularly pleasant set of people, rich and 
poor. Oddly enough, I remember an anecdote of one of 
our best poor people, a widow, who insisted on marrying 


a drunken good-for-nothing man, and when we expostu- 
lated with her she said it was a temptation of the evil 
one she could not resist At least she could repent, and 
I doubt not she did so at leisure." 

Mr. Browne, however, had little time at Stroud to watch 
the outcome of any part of his work among these friendly 
Gloucestershire people. For before he had been there 
quite six months the Perpetual Curacy of St James's 
Church, Exeter, was offered to him, and he accepted it at 
once, because it was a more independent position, and 
brought him nearer to Cornwall. It also seemed likely 
to provide a rather larger stipend. And to Exeter he 
removed forthwith, to read himself in at his new cure ; 
his license bearing date of April i6th, 1841. 

St James's was a district church taken in 1836 out of 
the large and outgrown parish of St Sidwell ; and St. 
Sidwell's was the name of a populous suburb of Exeter 
outside the east gate of the city. Ecclesiastically it was 
only a chapelry, annexed early in the sixteenth century 
to the parish of Heavitree, and only raised into a rectory 
in 1867. At St James's Harold Browne laboured faith- 
fully for about nine months, living in one of a row of newly 
built and very plain houses, called Salutary Place ; the 
houses had for their outlook little but a brick-field, and the 
view was barely redeemed from a dead level of suburban 
unfinished ugliness by the two towers of the Cathedral 
Church, visible in the distance. Here Mr. Browne had 
charge of a population of over three thousand souls. 

In the course of the summer the mother-church of 
St Sidwell's, in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of 
Exeter, fell vacant, was offered to him, and accepted. 
Mr. Browne was licensed to it as a Perpetual Curate on 
February i6th, 1842. It was a more anxious cure of 
souls even than St James's ; there were more than four 


thousand inhabitants, in many parts very thickly packed 
on the ground ; and, as Mrs. Harold Browne says, 
"although the principal street looked broad and well-to- 
do, it hid behind it numerous lanes and alleys, and rooms 
where each comer might house a family, and yet * a lodger 
occupy the middle.'" Here was a large church, the 
largest in Exeter. The old St. Sidwell's had been rebuilt 
once in 1659, ^ind again in 18 12, and, considering the 
period, is a very creditable structure, the tower, pillars, 
and some other parts of the older building having been 

The family of Sir John Mowbray, M.P. for the Uni- 
versity of Oxford, lived at Hill's Court in the parish, and 
were very much interested in the new Vicar. 

" I have very distinct recollection," says Sir John, " of 
hearing much of him from my mother, especially during 
1842 and 1843, of frequently hearing him in the pulpit, 
meeting him at dinner at my father's house, and once 
dining with him. I very distinctly recollect how the tone 
and character of the services were at once raised, and how 
deeply we were all impressed with the earnestness and 
devotion of our new pastor ; how much we appreciated his 
sermons,-— thoughtful, practical, learned without any parade 
of scholarship. Socially, I know his high gentlemanlike 
bearing, and Mrs. Browne's charming and natural manners, 
won the hearts of all. To me it was the commencement 
of a friendship which I valued more and more as years 
went by ; and it was my singular good fortune to see 
them in all their homes (except Lampeter)— at Exeter, at 
Heavitree, Kenwyn, Cambridge, Ely, Farnham, St. James's 
Square and Dover Street. And it was a great delight to 
receive them at my home in Warennes Wood, where my 
dear mother always spent three months every year up 
to 1887, when she was ninety-five. She had the most 
affectionate recollection of the good Bishop from St. 
Sidwell's days, and he was always very fond of her." 

Any one who knows the kindly hospitality of Warennes 
Wood and the clever and delightful family gathered 


happily round Sir John in his beautiful home, will under- 
stand with what pleasure the Bishop turned aside from 
his more regular duties to enjoy a quiet day among his 
old Exeter friends. 

The pastoral work done by Harold Browne at' St. 
Sidweirs was in every way exemplary ; he devoted him- 
self with unflagging energy to his heavy duties, although 
he was still so weak in body, chiefly from the after-effects 
of the Heidelberg fever of 1835, that he was " at one time 
obliged to use a saddle-seat in the pulpit, though his 
activity and work in the parish were wonderful." There 
exists a foolscap sheet containing a record of names of 
parishioners, and notes as to their characters and con- 
ditions. It is a very simple piece of work, kindly and 
affectionate, and gives the impression of a diligent and 
careful, though not at all inquisitorial, house to house 

At this time Mr. Browne appeared to be quite in the 
forefront of the new Church Movement. His Bishop, the 
well-known " Henry of Exeter," whose fame as a Church 
lawyer and fighting man was great half a century ago, 
was much attracted by the earnest young theologian at 
St Sidwell's, and always treated him with marked courtesy 
and kindness. Bishop Philpotts issued a charge in 1842, 
insisting on daily services where they could be had, and 
weekly communions ; he also instructed his clergy to wear 
the surplice in the pulpit instead of the black gown. The 
Bishop's instructions were right, as a matter of Church 
order : the morning sermon is treated as a definite portion 
of the Communion office, dealt with so as not to draw too 
marked a line between the ante-communion and the more 
solemn portion of the service ; it forms, in this connection, 
the protest of the Church, at the time of its highest office, 
against a purely emotional religion. And so, when the 


Bishop's charge appeared, Harold Browne obeyed, not 
merely because he had promised to obey, but because he 
really thought his Bishop right, and sympathised warmly 
with his wish to infuse more order and life into the 
services of the Church. 

In order to make the matter as clear as he could to his 
parishioners, he preached, in October 1 842, a sermon on the 
subject, which is, except for his Prize Essay at Cambridge, 
the earliest of his published writings. It is entitled " On 
Daily Prayer and Frequent Communion," and is dedicated 
to his flock in words which show the bent of his mind at 
this early period of his ministry : — 

" To my Parishioners, for whose use and at the request 
of some of whom it is printed, I dedicate this sermon ; in 
the earnest hope that it will please God to revive among 
them a spirit of primitive piety, and to give them, as His 
people, the blessing of peace." 

After rather rashly affirming that " the Church was 
founded here in Apostolic times, and is of Apostolic 
descent," he goes on to draw a distinction, hardly neces- 
sary for his argument, between the Churchman and the 
dissenter : — 

" The one," he says, " adheres steadfastly to the Apostles' 
doctrine and fellowship, and i/ie other is cut off from both'' 

It is his most unflinching statement of the view then 
coming into prominence, according to which a man who 
did not accept Episcopacy was practically cut off from all 
certainty of salvation. Then, after developing his subject, 
Mr. Browne continues thus : — 

"The decided expression of our reverend Father the 
Bishop, that, where possible, daily prayer and weekly com- 
munion ought to be revived, especially in town parishes, 
has determined the clergy of this parish to offer to all who 
will the power of worshipping Him twice every day, and of 


receiving the sacrament of Chrisf s Body and Blood every 
week. There will be prayers in this church (St. SidwelFs) 
every morning at ten, and there will be prayers at St. 
James's every afternoon at four; and there will, by God's 
permission, be the Holy Communion here every Sunday." 

Mr. Browne also determined to wear the surplice in the 
pulpit, and so to carry out to the full his Bishop's wishes. 
He was so thoroughly in earnest, and both he and his 
devoted wife were so much beloved already in the parish, 
that, so long as he remained, matters were quiet. When, 
however, in the following year he left St. Sidwell's, the 
pent-up ill-feeling broke out all the more vehemently, and 
took the form of riots, which threw the city into uproar 
and confusion. Mr. Browne's unlucky successor at St 
Sidwell's, Mr. Courtenay, was so much troubled and 
harassed by a disturbance which interfered sorely with 
all his work, and with his chances of living at peace with 
his parishioners, that the troubles probably caused, or 
at any rate hastened, his death. One of the lighter 
features of this controversy may be seen in an epigram 
which was printed in one of the local newspapers soon after 

Mr. Browne had left Exeter : — 


"A very pretty public stir 

Is getting up at Exeter 

About the surplice fashion; 
And many angry words and rude 
Have been bestowed upon the feud, 

And much unchristian passion. 

** For me, I neither know nor care 
Whether a parson ought to wear 
A black dress or a white dress, 

Filled with a trouble of my own — 

A wife who lectures in her gown, 
And preaches in her nightdress ! " 

Bishop Medley, at that time Mr. Browne's neighbour in 


Exeter, wrote, some years later, a letter which glances at 
their life in those early days. 

"In this barren and desolate shore," he writes, " every 
trace of England is precious ; and I love to think of our 
snug little evenings at the Dean's, where we undertook a 
task for which you were really fitted, of interpreting the 
Minor Prophets. Like all human efforts, we did less than 
we intended, and never reached Zechariah, I believe, or 
never finished it. How well I recollect the exact spot 
where our footsteps turned opposite ways in those wet and 
miry evenings, and how often I longed to have a little more 
of your company." 

The tone of affection and regret which runs through this 
letter is very touching. We see too how in these early 
days Mr. Browne impressed all who came in his way with 
his courtesy, affection, and soundness of learning and 

It was during their brief stay at Exeter, which between 
St James's and St. Sidwell's did not occupy quite two 
years, that their eldest child, Alice, was born to Mr. and 
Mrs. Browne. She was born at the White Hart, Bath. 
They had been on a visit to their kinsfolk at Rushden 
Hall, and were travelling westward on their return. At 
that time the long Box Tunnel was not yet opened, and 
the last portion of the journey had to be taken in any rough 
vehicle which the Company could provide. Unfortunately 
their carriage was shaky and the road bad ; and the baby 
was born at Bath. She felt the consequences of this hasty 
entrance into the world, and although she lived almost 
to womanhood, she was from the beginning a helpless 
invalid, who demanded great care and attention, and, as 
is so generally the case with those for whom we have to 
supply either the physical strength or the mental power 
necessary for life, wound herself very tightly round their 


" There must be cloud," says Mrs. Harold Browne, " as 
well as sunshine in most lives, and, although we were 
blessed in never-failing love, we had great sorrows in the 
loss of six dear children. Our eldest child was an invalid 
from her birth, having been shaken into the world by a 
rough journey from an unfinished railway line between 
Oxford and Bath, where she was prematurely born in 
1841 ; she lived to be seventeen years old, and although 
she was perfectly made and quite sensible, she was never 
able to control any of her muscles, and was obliged to be 
held in the arms of others, even when sitting or lying 
down. She had high spirits notwithstanding, and a great 
sense of fun, laughing heartily at any amusing story either 
read to her or in conversation. She inherited her father's 
love for animals and had many pets ; one dog especially 
watched over her. 

** I have given this account of our dear Alice, as her 
state of health greatly affected her father, who was quite 
devoted to her and constantly tired himself by carrying 
her about in his arms. This also often prevented my 
going with my husband to Cambridge or elsewhere on his 
duties ; so we were often separated, but we never failed 
to write to one another every day. Our second child, 
Edith, was bom at Ivy Cottage, Exeter, and went with us 
to Lampeter, where two years after she was taken from 
us by scarlet fever after only two days' illness. Three 
sons and one little daughter were born at Lampeter, only 
two of whom lived to grow up, riarold and Barrington. 
Thirlwall, Robert, and Dorothea were born at Kenwyn, and 
have been mercifully spared to us. Beatrice and Walter 
died at Exeter when quite young. A baby's death almost 
breaks one's heart at the time, however well we know that 
they are taken in love to their Saviour's bosom. My dear 
husband's heart was sorely tried by these bereavements, 
and for the first seventeen years of our married life the 
clouds seemed more felt than the sunshine. But there is 
* a silver lining to every cloud,' and the great kindness and 
sympathy of our relations and friends, and the love of our 
dear children, and our deep love for one another, enabled 
us by God's blessing to live happily in the beautiful homes 
which afterwards fell to our lot. We lived in fourteen 
different homes during the fifty years of our married 



THE license of Mr. Courtenay as new Incumbent of St- 
Sidweirs, Exeter, is dated August 19th, 1843 J so that 
Mr. Browne had charge of that parish just eighteen months. 
He now removed from Exeter to Lampeter College, of 
which he had been appointed Vice-Principal. The place 
deserves more than a passing notice. It lies in the Vale 
of the Teify, one of the most beautiful salmon rivers in 
South Wales, and is in the diocese of St David's, in a 
pleasing and hilly district In 1843, it was little more than 
a village, with a population of less than a thousand; it 
consisted of one long street, wide and straggling, with 
small stone houses on either side, the roofs of which were 
thatched and blackened by the smoke of peat-fuel dug 
from the neighbouring bogs. The neighbourhood was thinly 
peopled with Welsh-speaking inhabitants. There was a 
fair grammar-school ; and at such schools, up to the second 
quarter of this century, Welsh lads ambitious of Holy Orders 
were mainly educated. Of special training there was hardly 
a trace. Struck by the crying wants of his diocese. Bishop 
Burgess had determined to set aside a tenth of his income 
towards the establishment and endowment of a College for 
theological students, and for eighteen years, nearly the 
whole time of his sojourn at St David's, he steadily accu- 
mulated capital for this purpose. Roused by his enthusiasm, 



friends of the Principality in England and Wales sent 
him no little help ; he also received ;f i,ooo from King 
George IV. 

In 1822 he opened his Welsh Theological College, though 
without buildings. These soon followed ; and by 1827 the 
College at Lampeter was built, at a cost of ;^20,ooo ; in the 
following year it was incorporated by Royal Charter, and 
in 1829 formally opened and occupied by the students 
It consisted of a chapel, a hall and library, rooms for 
scholars, and houses for the professors. It stands pictur- 
esquely on the site of the ancient castle, of which the keep, 
a big mound planted with trees, with a walk climbing up 
it and a summer-house with a fine view at the top, is in the 
garden of the Vice -Principal, and was a favourite retreat of 
Mr. Browne. 

" The Vice-Principars house was," says Mr. Browne's 
successor, " an ugly little plastered rough-cast villa outside, 
with sufficient and convenient accommodation within ; the 
drawing-room was very pleasant, the other two rooms were 

For twenty years from the time of its opening, St. David's 
College had been very much out of the world. The nearest 
town, Llandovery, was twenty-two miles off; access to it 
was by a stage coach, over roads none too good or easy. 
The Bishop had placed the College there because he wished 
the students to run into no social temptations ; a considerate 
thought, which unfortunately worked very ill ; for the lads 
often needed cultivation and the refinements of life, and, 
left to themselves, were by no means unwilling to take their 
recreation in the village ale-house, from which the advan- 
tages of better society might have weaned them. 

The form of constitution favoured by Bishop Burgess, 
and laid down by Charter, was also unfortunate. The 
Bishop of St David's was permanent Visitor, and the Dean 


of St David's Principal ; a scheme which worked badly, 
as the Dean took small share in the actual teaching, 
knew little of the needs of students, and yet had almost 
autocratic power over the finance, the commissariat, and 
the domestic management of the College. With the best 
of Deans this arrangement would have been unfortunate ; 
as it was, here lay the main difficulty for the young 
Institution. In addition to this drawback, which placed 
responsibility without authority on the Vice-Principal's 
shoulders, Lampeter had other sources of difficulty : these 
were, first, the want of a sufficient endowment, in conse- 
quence of which the education could not be made so cheap 
and economical as was desirable for poor students ; secondly, 
the College could not grant Degrees, till 1853, when it 
received the power of conferring only those of B.A. and 
B.D. ; then, the students were painfully unprepared at 
starting ; and lastly, the English bishops, and even some 
Welsh, regarded men who had been trained at Lampeter 
with a chilling coldness. 

Dr. Ollivant, afterwards Bishop of Llandaff, was the 
first Vice-Principal, and held the office till the year 1843, 
when he was called back to Cambridge as Regius Professor 
of Divinity. 

The following letter, from the Dean of St. David's, 
began the negotiation which ended in the transference of 
Mr. Browne, his family and interests, from Exeter to 
Lampeter : — 

"St. David's College, 
''April loik, 1843. 

" Reverend Sir, — You may possibly have heard that 
Dr. Ollivant, the new Regius Professor at Cambridge, 
occupied for many years the office of V.-P. (with the Pro- 
fessorship of Hebrew) at this College. That office is still 
vacant, and your name having been mentioned to the 
Bishop of St. David's in very high terms, I am induced 


thus to trespass upon you, to enquire whether you would 
be inclined to enter into a negotiation on the subject— if 
such a post would be likely to meet your wishes. 

** There is a comfortable house, detached from the 
College, though in the grounds ; a garden, stables, and 
coach-house. The rates and taxes of the premises are 
paid out of a common fund. The money income, I believe 
I may safely say, would average ;^6oo per annum. The 
duties are not very onerous, consisting almost entirely 
in daily lectures with the Theological Class in Hebrew, 
Greek Testament, Pearson or Grotius, occupying on the 
whole about one and a half or two hours. 

** A gentleman of the name of North is at present my 
only resident colleague. We are both married men with 
families. I mention this fact, as I understand you are 
yourself married, and I presume your lady would be 
interested in such an enquiry. In this remote country, it 
is well to be, in some degree at least, independent of 
external resources as to society. Begging the favour of 
a reply, " I am. Reverend Sir, 

" Your faithful servant, 
"Llewelyn Lewellin. 

*'The Rev. E. H. Browne." 

The communication was so unexpected that Mrs. Browne 
writes, " At that time we knew nothing of Lampeter, not 
even being quite sure as to where it was ; " and it must 
have seemed like banishment to them. They had no 
connection with Wales ; the position of St. David's 
College was far from being secure ; it seems strange that 
Mr. Browne should have entertained the proposal. There 
were, however, one or two good reasons for it. First, he 
had discovered that a large parish well worked was very 
exhausting to his strength ; and there was also another and a 
very serious reason for a change. Mr. Browne's obedience 
to his Bishop's orders as to preaching in a surplice and 
daily prayers had offended many of his parishioners ; and 
though, from respect for his personal character, they had not 
as yet broken out into active opposition, he felt that trouble 


was in the air, and he must have keenly felt the risk he was 
running. He might any day have to face an outbreak ; 
and with an outbreak much of his influence on the parish 
would go at once, whatever might be the end of it There 
was also, of course, the hope that at Lampeter there would 
be an improved income, with fewer calls on it. 

The Head of his College, Dr. Archdall, in congratulating 
him on his appointment, makes the great mistake of think- 
ing that he is going to a quiet scene of dignified repose. 

" I trust," he says, "you will find comfort and repose 
and leisure at Lampeter, provided the * Rebecca ' rabble do 
not break in upon your peace and quiet In going to 
settle yourself there you will not have many turnpikes 
to pay." 

At the close of the summer vacation of 1843, Mr. 
Browne removed to Lampeter, reaching St Davids 
College at a time when the " Rebecca " riots were in full 
swing. The early numbers of the Illustrated London 
News contain fancy pictures of the doings of " Rebecca '* 
and " Charlotte." These two personages, unmistakably 
men in size and walk, the sons of a Welsh nobleman^ 
were not dressed as women, but wore shirts over their 
ordinary attire ; and in this garb headed the farmers and 
peasantry of South Wales in their practical protest against 
the turnpike system. The tolls were high, the bars 
frequent, and the tax pressed heavily on the farmers. 
Though the origin of the name " Charlotte " is uncertain, 
that of " Rebecca " is plain. As is so often the case 
in the nomenclature of peasant-revolt, it has its origin in 
Scripture, and is taken from Gen. xxiv. 60: "And they 
blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, . . . Let thy seed 
possess the gate of those that hate them." As the Vice- 
Principal's house at Lampeter was close to the turnpike 
gate, the Vicar of the parish warned the new comer 


that any night he might be aroused by " Rebecca." He 
advised him to show no lights in any of the rooms, 
as it was one of the unwritten laws of " Rebecca " that 
those who made no sign should not be molested, while a 
light in a window would be sure to attract unpleasant 
attention. This precaution Mr. Browne unluckily could 
not take, for the little Alice must have a light in her 
room ; and perhaps he was inclined to make little of the 
warning. If so, he was soon undeceived. A few days 
later, about two in the morning, the family were aroused 
by a volley of guns, and by the noise of the demolition of 
the gate ; the light in a bedroom at once attracted the 
attention of the rioters, one of whom threw a turf and 
broke the window, to the alarm of the invalid child and 
her nurse ; no other dan>age, happily, was done, and, as 
Mrs. Harold Browne said, " We always used to call it our 
first card." Later on, when, in other parts of Wales, the 
rioting became more serious, troops were called out, and 
the disturbances put down. The Welsh argument, how- 
ever, prevailed ; the heavy tolls were greatly reduced, and 
a better system began, which has since spread all over 
England and Wales. 

The duties attached to the office of Vice-Principal at 
Lampeter were for the most part very congenial to Harold 
Browne. He had to give lectures in Dogmatic Theology^ 
sometimes in Church' History ; he also taught Hebrew 
for the Old Testament, and Greek for the New ; the draw- 
back being that many of his pupils had to begin almost 
from the very rudiments, and rarely acquired more than 
the outlines of either language. In Dogmatic Theology, 
Mr. Browne's labours bore more fruit; for it is to the 
lectures at Lampeter that we owe his well-known " Expo- 
sition of the Thirty-Nine Articles." 

He had such clearness and power of explanation, sucji 



a gift of orderly arrangement of facts, such a pleasant 
utterance and moderation and winning friendliness of tone, 
that one of those who heard his lectures says that " they 
were all that first-rate lectures should be." As a preacher, 
also, he won golden opinions. For " his sermons," as the 
aged Archdeacon North says, in reminiscences of the 
Bishop written only a few months before his own death, 

" were plain in style, yet impressive from their earnest 
manner of delivery, full of instruction and of practical 
lessons. Many a clergyman," he adds, *' now long esta- 
blished in the ministry throughout England and Wales, 
still remembers the valued addresses, which instructed 
their minds and told effectually on their hearts and lives. 
What especially marked his character was the spirit which 
affected all who were in contact with him, and who felt 
the subtle power of high character and example in a gifted 
man of God." 

Mr. Browne soon encountered far more serious difficulties 

than were thrown in his way by the outbreaks of" Rebecca " 

and his rough company. The College, after about fourteen 

years of existence, had made but little progress, and, as 

one of the onlookers said, "Harold Browne in 1843 found 

it in the worst possible condition." It combined the 

rawness of a new institution with some of the abuses 

and laxity of administration which people associate with 

ancient foundations. The College had never had a fair 

chance ; and the Professor, who went there eager for 

studious work and teaching, soon found himself confronted 

with some most trying questions of management. His 

seven years at Lampeter were a ceaseless struggle for 

the rule of common sense and honesty. A more harassing 

position can hardly be imagined. The problem was how 

to raise the intellectual and social standing of the students, 

while it was not possible to charge such fees as would 

provide funds for first-rate help ; the bad system of the 

•commissariat also made economies impossible. 


The following letter from Bishop Thirlwall, addressed 
to Mr. Browne after he had left Lampeter, illustrates this 
point : — 

"Abergwili, March 12M, 1850. 

" My dear Sir, — I find that some statements have 
been made lately in the Daily News by a person signing 
himself ' Giraldus,' to the effect that the regulation by 
which a certificate of two years* residence at a Grammar 
School is required from candidates for admission at 
Lampeter has been frequently and notoriously violated. 
My attention was drawn to the subject by the Archdeacon 
of Cardigan, who added his own testimony as to one 
instance, the case of a person of the name of Green, who, 
as he states, was with him for five months, and having 
learnt the Latin Grammar had just crept into the Delectus 
and then 'became without any certificate from him a 
member of St David's College.' Do you remember such 
a person, and any of the circumstances of his admission ? 
And are you able to inform me whether a certificate is 
actually required according to the letter and spirit of the 
regulation ? 

" I wish to learn from you as exactly as I can how the 
case stands before I address the Dean on the subject. 
And I should be much obliged if you could suggest some 
mode of guarding against such abuses in future. 

^* I am, my dear Sir, 

" Yours faithfully, 
" C. St. David's." 

" With difficulty," says the Archdeacon, " he got Oxford 
and Cambridge examiners; all was irregular, in studies, 
finance, everything ; he did much in the way of palliation 
and remonstrance," 

I am specially fortunate in having received from Canon 
J. J. Douglas, B.D., J.P. of Kirriemuir, N.B., a very graphic 
and pleasing picture of the outset of Harold Browne's 
work at Lampeter. Canon Douglas was one of the 
students at the time of the new Vice-Principal's arrival, 
and writes of him with vivid remembrance : — 

"Dr. OUivant had been a stiff and stern man, and did 


not succeed in gaining the affection of the students. The 
new Vice-Principal soon succeeded where his predecessor 
had failed. I remember his figure perfectly well, — tall and 
graceful, with light hair, a slight stoop, and an amiable 
facial expression. His young wife we all thought a very 
charming person, and admired her extremely. They 
resided in the Vice-PrincipaFs house a little to the north 
of the College. We often saw with great interest their 
little children as they were taken out by the nurse regularly 
for an airing in a small perambulator. 

" The new Professor soon effected a great improvement 
in the religious tone of the College Chapel services, notably 
in the increased number and in the demeanour of the 
communicants. Mr. Browne's manner was indicative of 
unaffected reverence and devotion. His sermons I do 
not remember, but I know that we divinity students always 
looked forward to them as a great treat, and carefully 
attended to every word. 

" At that period there were * great searchings of heart ' 
in regard to the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration, and 
the Professor of course often discoursed upon it in the 
lecture room, and also in private conversations. A set 
of men called * Saints ' disliked this. The majority of the 
students, however, adopted the Professor's views as in 
harmony with the teaching of the Prayer-Book. A more 
faithful son of the English Church never existed. It was 
touching and beautiful to hear him speaking of her as * My 
Mother ' — * my Mother the Church of England.' 

" The Professor took a lively and affectionate interest 
in all the Divinity students, and repeatedly invited those 
who cared to go to his private house. In his well-arranged 
drawing-room he used to give us an excellent tea and 
make us read Hooker and Pearson on the Creed, inter- 
spersed with his comments and interesting conversation. 
Mrs. Browne was generally present on these occasions. 
They were both particularly kind to us, and we in our 
turn were very grateful and conceived a great regard for 

" The Professor was also an excellent Hebrew scholar, 
and evidently always carefully prepared his lecture on the 
Old Testament. We studied with him a large portion of 
the Book of Proverbs in the original. I can truly say that 
to him I owe not only my first religious impressions but 
also the principles of Church doctrine and practice. I 


never can forget the kind instructions he gave me at my 
last viva voce examination in December 1844, just before 
I went up to York to be examined by the Archbishop's 
chaplains for Deacon's orders." 

And the Vicar of Rhymney, Prebendary Evans, who 
left the College in 1848, and was therefore all his time, 
three years and a half, under Harold Browne, adds one or 
two touches to the picture : — 

" He was," he says, "a tall, slender man with very long 
fingers. All the collegians looked up to him with the 
highest respect His lectures on the Articles were so lucid, 
so well-arranged, and so exhaustive, that we signed a 
petition asking him to publish them. Such was the origin 
of the book which has ever since been the standard work 
on the Articles. His sermons were searching, incisive, 
and impressive. I often saw some of the students in tears 
when he was preaching. . . . He was remarkable for his 
gentleness and his genuine piety ; we all regarded him as an 
eminently pious man ; and he was so gentle that I never 
saw him in a passion. I never heard him utter a harsh 
word whatever the provocation might be." 

In April 1848, Mr. Browne, descending some stairs, had 
a very severe fall, and was laid up in consequence ; his 
side, which had suffered once before from an accident 
in Switzerland, specially giving him pain. Rheumatic 
symptoms shewed themselves, and had to be treated with 
plasters and strong liniments. These successive injuries 
caused him trouble in after life, though he was, as a rule, 
a healthy man. 

The domestic life of the young Professor at Lampeter 
was of untold value as a humanising element for the 
rougher Welsh students. Though his career there began 
in the midst of storm and clouds, his transparent goodness, 
his real sense of religion, as to which the Welsh are ever 
very sensitive, his gentle influence and unaffected kindli- 
ness, before long made him very dear to the whole place, 


Students and inhabitants alike. Had he been a Welshman 
they could not have liked him better ; the impulsive 
element in the Welsh character was touched at once. 
Their servants clung to them affectionately and loyally ; 
their factotum, Daniel Ollivant, who had taken, according 
to the clannish Welsh usage, his late master's name, and 
was gardener, groom, coachman, and even sometimes 
waited at table, lived with them all the time they were at 
Lampeter ; onfe of their most favourite servants, Esther 
Davies, came to them at first in her pretty Welsh dress, and 
stayed in the household more than forty years, following 
the Bishop's fortunes from place to place with unswerving 
fidelity, watching like a mother over the children, and 
in the end marrying the Bishop's body-servant. 

"The Bishop married them," says Mrs. Browne, "our 
daughter and a cousin being bridesmaids, and all our sons 
and Miss Browne being present." 

This devotion of their servants bears eloquent testimony 
to the kindness and sympathetic consideration with which 
all were treated in that household ; it also unfortunately 
sometimes led to wastefulness on the part of the domestics. 
And an open-handed kindness, so liable to be imposed 
on right and left, marked all the dealings of the young 
Professor and his family with all around them. 

Archdeacon North writes of these days : — 

" * To do good and to distribute forget not * was a maxim 
which ruled the practice of both Mr. and Mrs. Harold 
Browne, with whom may be associated his sister Miss 
Browne, whose memory lives still in fond recollection of 
many friends of those distant days. . . . Poor and sick 
were blessed by benevolence, the unostentatious exercise 
of which distributed benefits known only to the recipients, 
excepting friendly observers, who could not fail to infer 
from their effects." 

No wonder that Mrs. Harold Browne could say that 


" we found the peasantry most warm-hearted people, 
grateful for any kindness shown them. They did not 
speak much English then, but we soon got to understand 
one another." 

" Love will find out the way " is as true of Christian 
charity as of courtship. Let us see the warmth of their 
Celtic affections in the letter of "an old carpenter and 
great friend," as Mrs. Browne calls him, one Enoch Jones, 
who was moved by tidings of the Bishop's translation to 
the See of Winchester, long years after these Lampeter 
days, to write as follows : — 

" I hope you will forgive poor old Enoch in taking such 
liberty in writing to you to express is feelings : when he 
bird that you wos made Bishop of Winchester he cryed 
with joy and went to ask Esther Davis was it true ? and 
when she answer yes my feelings went that I coud harly 
speck with joy. — ENOCH JONES." 

The young couple were open-handed up to and even 
beyond their means ; and as the repute of the generosity 
of the Vice-Principars house spread abroad, not only the 
inhabitants of Lampeter, but the Welsh from villages 
around, trooped in whenever they were in trouble, or could 
make it appear that they were. It is told of one old 
fellow from the hills, who had trudged in to Lampeter one 
day to see what he could get, that he came up the street 
asking, " Where is the gentleman who gives to all ? " (Pie 
maeV gur boneddig sy'n rhoi i bawb ?), and when he heard 
that Mr. Browne had just bidden farewell to the College 
and was gone away for good, he filled the whole road with 

The influence Mr. Browne exercised over all around 
him was exactly what had been wanting at Lampeter 
before his time ; one of his old pupils writes, " He had 
immense influence over the men, and raised the College to 


a high standard." No one who has come under the 
influence of that beautiful life can ever forget it. Nor can 
it be wondered at that the houses in the country round 
(especially the houses of Mr. Brigstock of Blaenpant, Miss 
Webley Parry, and Mr. Charles Morris) were all thrown 
open gladly for the reception of the Vice-Principal and his 
wife. Now at one house, now at another, they spent a 
night or two, leaving behind them most pleasant memories. 

"Our visits to the Bishop of St. David's" (Connop 
Thirlwall), says Mrs. Browne, " we always enjoyed ; I think 
the most sociable time was at breakfast, when great discus- 
sions went on, not always learned. The Bishop was very 
fond of flowers and animals " [that large-souled nature of 
his could not help having sympathy enough and to spare 
for all manner of God*s creatures] ; " several cats and three 
dogs at least lived in the house ; one dog called * Wop ' 
was an animal of great character, not always loved or even 
respected by the clergy. A large amount of bread and 
toast was collected after breakfast and taken by the Bishop 
to feed his birds in the aviary, and his * gooseys,* as he 
called them, who came waddling up to the banks of the 
river as soon as they heard his voice. There were 
beautiful walks and drives about Abergwili (the Bishop's 
palace), and no lack of amusement indoors, for every book 
that came out seemed to find its way there. The Bishop 
used often of an evening to stand by the drawing-room 
chimneypiece, a book in one hand and a paper-cutter in 
the other, his eyes shut as if in sleep ; yet he heard all 
that was said, and rather astonished his friends sometimes 
by making a sudden but very apt observation on what 
they had been saying. My husband valued his friendship 
exceedingly ; it lasted till his death." 

With his many lectures and conscientious determination 
to make his teaching as sound and good as possible, Mr. 
Browne's days were fully occupied ; he learnt Welsh, and 
also Arabic and Syriac, which he studied by fixing up 
notes on grammar and vocabulary above his washstand, 
so that he might commit them to memory while he dressed ; 


profuse of money, he was chary of time, and throughout 
his life a rapid and diligent student. Nor did he forget 
the social interests of his students; from time to time 
they were invited to his house, that they might see a little 
of the pleasures of a refined and affectionate home-life. 
In these more social hours Mr. Browne gathered infor- 
mation from the young men regarding those points of bad 
management which so seriously injured the College, and 
were a continual trouble and annoyance to his upright and 
generous nature. Sometimes, the little parties turned to 
lighter things, and the evening was spent merrily enough 
in quiet games, or in composing poems and charades. Of 
these one or two have survived, and may be set down here 
as specimens of the simple amusements of a winter's night. 
The first is by Mr. Browne himself, an innocent charade : — 

*' My first with even pace 
Moves in unvaried round; 
But as it moves it makes 
What man's dull course will bound. 

" My next its warnings heed, 
Warnings of fear and love, 
Lord of the world below, 
Heir to the world above. 

"Oft in the stilly night, 
When slumber's chain hath bound us, 
My whole with voice of night 
His guardian care spreads round us.'' 

And no doubt the ancient guardian of the night often 
made the silent street of Lampeter echo with his cry. 

Mrs. Harold Browne followed in a lighter strain, not 
fearing to make play with the arcana of women's dress ; 
or Miss Browne, with her clever poetic turn, rose to a 
somewhat higher flight as she praised and sported with 
the incoming of spring. 


When Mr. Browne had spent more than a year at 
Lampeter he was presented to the sinecure Rectory of 
Llandewi Velfrey in the county of Pembroke, with which 
went a Canonry or Prebend in St. David's Cathedral. 
This piece of preferment is in the gift of the College at 
Lampeter, and is usually held by the Vice-Principal as 
a help to his narrow income. The value of it is ;f 200 a 
year. The spiritual care of the inhabitants, some six 
hundred in number, is entrusted to a Vicar, whose income 
IS somewhat larger than that assigned to the Rector. 

Mr. Browne set himself steadily to raise the level of 
the Church in Wales, by endeavouring to turn into it 
the religious enthusiasm of the Methodist preachers, by 
slaking the fiery Evangelicalism of Welsh churchman- 
ship, and by providing the Church with well-equipped 

The main difficulty lay in the relations between the 
Principal and the College. Nothing can exceed the severity 
with which the late Archdeacon of Cardigan speaks of 
these matters. One would gladly set such squalors aside 
and draw nothing but the brighter lights. Justice, how- 
ever, to the College in its early struggles, and to the valiant 
young Vice-Principal, demands that the matter should not 
be passed over. As Archdeacon North sadly says : — 

" The darker shades were a perpetual source of affliction 
to me and my dear colleagues the several Vice-Principals. 
... I bore the martyrdom, which also made the progress 
of the College hopeless, for some years afterwards." 

He characterises the evil as " thwarting a scheme of Sir 
T. Phillips, the generous donor of the Library," and as a 
"positive obstruction to our progress." 

Whatever the Vice-Principal may have felt or thought, 
he seems to have laboured on in silence from 1843 to 1848, 
and only to have begun to shew signs of restlessness in 


that famous "year of revolutions." The temper of the 
time perhaps even penetrated to Lampeter, and set students 
and tutors moving against an irresponsible despotism. 
What, however, appears to have roused Mr. Browne to 
open action was the rumour which reached Lampeter to the 
effect that another and a rival institution was about to be 
established by the Bishop of St David's at Llandovery ; 
this apparently set him enquiring how the Lampeter 
College could be made more efficient and more economical, 
so as to meet the strain of competition. He also wrote 
a letter on the subject to the Bishop, which shews that 
his mind was turning towards work in his old University 
of Cambridge, and that his friends there had not lost sight 
of or forgotten him. We have not the actual letter sent 
by the Vice-Principal to the Bishop of St David's, but 
only Mr. Browne's draft, with phrases which may have 
afterwards been altered. Such as it is, in the great dearth 
of materials for this period of the Bishop's life we give it 
as it stands. The paper is undated ; it belongs to the 
summer of 1848: — 

*' My Lord, — I may well apologise to your Lordship for 
venturing to trouble you with a subject almost entirely 
concerning myself. To detain you as little as I can, some 
friends of mine at Cambridge (for whom I entertain con- 
siderable respect) have begged me to become a candidate 
for the Professorship of Hebrew soon likely to be vacant, 
with an assurance that I have a good prospect of success, 
as some of the probable candidates are not likely from 
various causes to meet with support (I bear a better 
character than, I fear, I deserve.) My first reply was that 
I did not think I should succeed ; that I did not think 
myself qualified to compete with such persons as Dr. Mill, 
etc., — did not think it right to take an office for which others 
were better fitted, and for which I feared I was not qualified ; 
and lastly that I felt it my duty not to leave a post in 
which I hoped I was useful, for one for which I might not 
be so well qualified. The two former objections have been 


combated by my friends with various arguments. The 
last alone is that on which I take the liberty of writing to 
your Lordship. 

" It has been forced on my notice lately that the College 
to which I am attached is in a very precarious positioa 
Popular opinion runs strongly against some things con- 
nected with it. Even the improvements lately introduced, 
whilst they have had no time to produce good fruit, have 
tended to frighten many from coming to us, and to make 
them look out for an easier as well as a cheaper passport 
to Ordination. Just at the same moment springs up the 
school at Llandovery,— not a school, but *an institution 
between a grammar school and a university.' The general 
feeling of the people is that it is to supersede Lampeter, 
and the enthusiasm with which it was welcomed a few 
days since has of course tended to strengthen this belief. 
How far it is the wish of some connected with it that this 
should be the case remains to be seen. I need hardly tell 
your Lordship that if young men imagine they can finish 
their education at such a place as Llandovery, they will 
never incur the additional expense of going to Lampeter. 
Thus, just at the time when in one department at least 
most important improvements were making, there seems 
considerable danger that the College will almost cease to 

" It would be very impertinent in me to ask your Lord- 
ship to express on this subject any opinion, beyond what 
you may be inclined to give. But I trust you will allow 
me to put it in the following point of view. 

"A month ago I gave up all thought of being a candidate 
for the Professorship at Cambridge, in great degree because 
I thought Lampeter a most important post, because 
(however small my abilities and however cramped by 
circumstances) I thought and hoped I was of use there, 
and because, though not a very desirable place of residence* 
yet I had there the means of maintaining my family. 1 
knew indeed then that the College was in bad odour. Yet 
I hoped, from the many marks of respect I continually 
received, that I was not the cause of its low esteem. Since 
that time, however, I have seen reason to think and know 
that others, less interested, think that without strong sup- 
port the College must go. In that case I should lose at 
once the means of being useful and of providing for my 
family, and should retire from a sphere of labour in which 


I had worked, unsuccessfully perhaps, but to the best of 
my power and against great disadvantages, with discredit 
if not disgrace. 

"How this may turn out must in some degree depend 
on the view your Lordship may take of it I do not mean 
that your Lordship can fully control events or opinions. 
But they will be materially influenced by your [judgment], 
and I should feel greatly obliged if you could, consistently 
with your own views of prudence, give me, in strict con- 
fidence, such a degree of light on the prospects of the 
College as may serve to direct me a little in my present 

Bishop Thirl wall's reply, dated July 17th, 1848, endea- 
vours to shew that the proposed Llandovery " Institution '* 
ought not to affect the fortunes of Lampeter unfavourably, 
not being * in pari materie,' and ends with a rather frigid 
phrase, asking the Vice-Principal not to go away. It seems 
evident from the manner of the letter, that though Bishop 
Thirlwall did not pay much heed to the Llandovery 
scare, he still did not doubt that Mn Browne was wise 
in thinking about a move to some more congenial and 
permanent post. 

The subject of a Training College for Welsh Clergy, 
and the scheme of a separate Welsh University, were 
much debated during the summer months of 1848. Sir 
Thomas Phillips, who had been a munificent benefactor 
to Lampeter, appears to have suggested the plan to the 
Welsh Episcopate and clergy. The Welsh Bishops, how- 
ever, jealous of anything which might seem to tend 
towards severance from England, and not so proud as 
they might have been of the ancient British Church of 
which they are, in a sense, the representatives, were definitely 
opposed to the scheme ; and Bishop Thirlwall, the fourth 
of them, writing on August 5th, 1848, after having seen 
the written opinions of the other three, summed up the 
opposition in a strong letter to Sir Thomas Phillips. 


All this set of Welsh opinion was very alarming to 
those whose interests and work were bound up with the 
prosperity of Lampeter. Mr. Brovme, Mr. North, and 
perhaps one or two outside friends, held anxious discussions 
as to the right course to be taken: it is plain that the 
Vice-Principal, while he was ready to face any difficulties 
which might arise, was at the same time thinking about 
withdrawal from the scene. His peaceful disposition and 
sensitiveness made him reluctant to give pain, if it could 
be avoided. We may imagine how unwillingly he set 
himself about this time to write the following letter to 
the Principal of St David's College, Dr. Lewellin, whom 
he rightly regarded as the chief difficulty in the way of 
such a reform as might, with vigorous and capable teaching 
and administration, win for the College the confidence of 
students and a much needed modicum of success. The 
letter is undated and (being only a draft) has been left in 
an unfinished state ; — 

"Mv DEAR Dr. Lewp:llin, — I should much prefer 
speaking, but that in communications of importance 
mistakes are prevented by writing. And I should be very 
sorry to express myself so that you should misunderstand 

" I write to you now because I feel that our existence 
as a body is not only threatened, but in imminent danger 
of dissolution. I am myself so little .satisfied with our 
position that, unless we right, I shall seek some other 
sphere of action ; and I hope it will not be thought by you 
arrogant or offensive if I add that one strong reason 
which weighed with me against becoming a candidate for 
the Professorship at Cambridge was the a-ssurance, which 
had previously been given mc in several quarters, that if 
[I] have to leave the College it would be the signal for 
its speedy and probably total dissolution. Had I heard 
nothing but this, I should have been sufficiently aware of 
our dangerous position. But I have heard a great deal 
more, and am sure that we are now so out of favour with 
the higher powers, with the clergy, and most of all with 


the gentry, that nothing but a vigorous effort can save us, 
and this, I fear, may be too late. I have never before 
fully entered on the topics on which I now propose to 
write, because I have feared to moot questions which 
might disturb that feeling of friendship which has existed, 
and I trust will yet exist, between us, and might interfere 
with the harmony of the collegiate body. But I now have 
come to the conclusion that I must do so or go ; and that, 
if we cannot make some changes which will bring us the 
confidence of the public, we must make up our minds to 
retire in favour of Archdeacon Williams [/>. of Llandovery]. 

"The two things about which I have long heard the 
greatest complaints are : — 

" 1st. The inefficiency of our examinations, and the 
very unqualified men we have admitted to the College. 
This I have always strongly felt ; and have therefore 
always been an advocate for examiners from without. 
Their appointment will, I hope, in a measure remedy the 
defect and remove the complaint. 

" 2nd. The expense of the education here ; the fact that 
the affairs of the College are all administered by one, and 
that the most irresponsible, member of it ; that the Principal 
is at once tutor, bursar, steward, and even farmer and 
butcher ; and that the accounts are not sufficiently public. 

" I am naturally very unwilling to allude to this, but I 
hear of it in all directions, and I am sure that it raises the 
strongest prejudice and the hardest suspicions against you 
everywhere. I do not wish to conceal from you that I 
have from the first personally felt that in many points 
there was an absolute control exercised in the College 
utterly inconsistent with the constitution of a corporate 
body, utterly unlike what is exercised in any other College 
in the kingdom, and particularly unlike that which in the 
original constitution of this College was evidently contem- 
plated. I have, however, endeavoured to suppress any 
feelings of the kind which were chiefly personal, and speak 
now from public motives. 

" I have constantly had to defend you from accusations 
which are current against you ; and I am sure you are in 
no degree aware of the intensity of the public feeling on 
this head. 

" The two points especially objected to in this particular 
are the management of the Scholarship fund, to which I 
have already called your attention, and the providing of 


the dinner. The former you have already given attention 
to, and have done what I should have thought enough to 
satisfy objections. The latter I should earnestly wish you 
to take into serious consideration. The last year that we 
audited, the dinners came to ;^I7 los. to each man on the 
average. The greatest number of weeks that we ever 
reside is twenty-seven, giving about 13J. a week, or nearly 
2s. a day, for each man's dinner, — considerably more than 
it costs in either University. I am inclined to think that 
a better mode of purveying would remedy this. 

" I may add that one of the greatest causes of public 
indignation is that you provide the College from your own 
farm. Whatever advantages may accrue from this, it is 
so very unpopular a thing that I cannot but hope you will 
give it up." 

The evils which goaded Mr. Browne to write this letter 
must have become an intolerable burden before he could 
have been moved to take such decided action. 

And the letter was, in fact, the preface to a series of 
Resolutions to be laid before the Bishop of St. David's. 
Mr. Browne had now received from the Bishop of Exeter 
the offer of the important living of Kenwyn, near Truro, 
and he felt that a man on the point of departure might 
speak his mind with freedom and break through the crust 
of bad custom, and so leave to his successor a much better 
chance of raising the College than he himself had enjoyed. 
He would avoid the likelihood of a quarrel, and of un- 
pleasant communications with the Principal ; while his 
successor would arrive without any prejudice against him, 
and would be able to take up and carry on the requisite 
reforms without so much difficulty. 

In a second letter to his sister, dated October 31st, 1849, 
he reviews the position clearly : — 

" The Canonry (at St. David's) is not bribe enough. I 
would rather have Kenwyn without, than Lampeter with, 
a Canonry. But we all fear that it may be a duty not to 
leave St. David's in such a pinch of need. Melvill, you 


see, 13 like a man beside himself. But the Bishop's letter, 
for hiiHy is unusually strong and warm. I have written 
again to both, combating their conclusions ; but I feel 
that if they are right we must sacrifice wishes to duty. 
And Lizzy feels it most of all, and never offers one 
argument for Kenwyn. It is a sad trial to us. It did 
seem as if a ray of sunshine had at length fallen upon us. 
Now it is all dark again, as far as this world goes. May 
God give us grace to judge and act rightly." 

It was probably with Kenwyn in view that, on the 7th 
of November, 1849, Harold Browne addressed another long 
letter to the Principal, of which we have the draft : — 

"S. D. C, November 'jth, 1849. 

"My dear Mr. Dean, — This is a time of no small 
anxiety to me. . It happens also to be one of no ordinary 
interest to the whole College and the Church in South 
Wales. In some respects I see the hope of brighter 
prospects. • But I feel quite sure that it is now a question 
of the greatest moment, what steps the College itself 
takes. It may either sink altogether, or be the chief 
educator of the clergy of Wales. 

" My remaining here is very uncertain. On the whole 
it is more likely that I shall not But it is my earnest 
wish, whether I go or stay, to secure the best interests of 
the College at this crisis, and I may add your own. I have 
already opened a question with you to which I now recur. 
The dissatisfaction which I have said prevails concerning 
the internal management I have every reason to believe 
increases. I fully expect that if 1 leave the College, as 
there will be some change by that movement, so it will be 
a signal for an explosion of such feelings, unless something 
be done- to soothe and satisfy them. 

** I have felt my own position overpoweringly painful, 
from the consciousness that we are the objects of general 
suspicion, and that I had no power to remove it. And 
should circumstances lead me to remain here, I could not 
consent to do so without first stipulating that the whole 
management of the College should be put on such a 
footing as to satisfy the public, and to enable me to feel 
that our labours here were not both useless and thankless. 
On the other hand, if I leave the College, I have hitherto 


felt that my post was on these accounts so difficult, and 
that if my predecessor had acted as I now propose to act 
it would have been so much easier, that I am determined 
not to go without endeavouring to persuade you to adjust 
matters so that hereafter the College and my successor 
may have a less difficult game to play. 

" I trust that in this you will feel that I am actuated by 
no motive but a sense of duty. I may add, a sense of duty 
to myself as well as to others, for so I feel that I may be 
the means of freeing you from the distressing suspicions 
which rest on you, even more than on all besides. 

" You know that the accounts are the chief ground of 
complaint. I am sure that an enquiry will be demanded 
from without, if it be not first courted from within. Let 
me beg you to anticipate the demand, and so place your- 
self on a much better footing than you could otherwise 

" But the accounts are not the only subject of complaint. 
Another is that the business of the College is transacted 
by one person. This is protested against as giving no 
security to the public against mismanagement. It is added 
that the Principal, as being the least* easily called to 
account, is the very last member of the College who ought 
to have such power entrusted to him. 

"If you knew what is said on this subject you would 
not think me unreasonable in urging it on you. I have 
reason to think that all connected with the College are as 
well aware as I am of what I say, and fully agree in my 
view of the question. But I am in that position which 
calls on me to be the mover ; and though the position be a 
painful one I am resolved not to shrink from it That my 
conduct in this is that of your true friend I am also well 
assured ; though I am always afraid that it may appear 
otherwise to you. 

" The proposal which I am prepared to make, is that 
henceforth the affairs of the College of all kinds be con- 
ducted strictly after the model of University Colleges. I 
should propose to divide the accounts and management 
between three persons, as they are divided there ; which 
will prevent the danger of such suspicions being allowed 
to rest on one. I should propose audits by the whole 
corporate body twice yearly. I should propose that all 
business be transacted in regular formal College meetings, 
everything done by College order, entered regularly in the 


order or minute book, and that everything be constantly 
open to the inspection of any persons who have a reason- 
able claim to demand it 

" How it may be best to give eflfect to these proposals 
I am not quite certain. But one of these two modes I will 
suggest Either let a committee of clergymen from 
different parts of the diocese be appointed to inspect 
matters and report, or else, let the whole corporate body, 
yourself. Archdeacon Bevan, Melvill, North, and myself, 
meet, with the sanction of the Bishop, and make future 
arrangements, as well as consider any subject of accounts 
which may seem to them desirable. I am ready to submit 
my own proposals to them. 

" I will only add that concerning the providing of dinners, 
I propose that it be done as at the Universities, by contract 
with the cook or butler, or any other person who will con- 
tract for them on fair terms. 

" I can assure you of my firm persuasion that such 
arrangements as I now propose are not only likely to save 
the College from utter ruin, but will place you in a position 
in every way higher than that which you now occupy, 
a position free from suspicion, and, I incline to believe, 
[ofj much more certain if not much greater pecuniary 
advantages — and one much more resembling the post of 
the dignified head of a College, and less resembling that 
of the master of a common grammar school. 

" Believe me that though I feel my first duty is to try 
and save the College (and if I do not do it, no one else will), 
yet it is my hope and earnest desire to serve you also. I 
see that I can do this only by distinctly and definitely 
proposing the arrangements I have already referred to, as 
the sole conditions on which I will consent to remain in the 
College, if I determine to remain ; and as my distinct pro- 
posals now as a member of the corporate body, before I 
leave it, in case of my determining to go into Cornwall. 

" I have written this, as I generally do when I have 
important business to discuss, as far better than speaking. 
I trust you will give it your best consideration, and believe 
me that, whether here or in Cornwall, yourself and the 
College will both be the objects of my sincere interest and 
regard, as you are daily the subject of the prayers of, 
" My dear Mr. Dean, 

" Yours very sincerely, 

" E. Harold Browne." 


This remarkable letter is more eloquent in what it does 
not say than in what it does. The very vagueness of it 
leaves an impression that there were unlimited grounds for 
dissatisfaction, and that things were on the edge of a kind of 
revolution. Harold Browne was to be the Mirabeau of the 
movement, which should end, not in the overthrow of the 
autocrat, but in the substitution of constitutional in the 
place of irresponsible government The Vice-Principal 
was a conservative reformer, aiming at a reform which 
should be carried out along lines well known, tried, and 
found successful — at least to a certain point — in the ancient 

Dean Lewellin appears to have received his Vice- Prin- 
cipal's remonstrance in the same friendly spirit in which 
it was penned. He replied without bitterness, expressing 
himself ready to meet Mr. Browne and to consider the 
suggestions laid before him in the letter given above ; and 
to his note we have this reply : — 

"S. D. C, November 12M, 1849. 

" My dear Mr. Dean,— I write to tell you that I have 
accepted the offer of the Bishop of Exeter, and therefore 
must consider my days at Lampeter as numbered. I need 
hardly tell you that I shall not leave it without many and 
deep regrets, though I trust I am doing right, and hope for a 
blessing on my future undertaking. I hope we shall one day 
be able to persuade Mrs. Lewellin and yourself to pay us 
a visit in our future home, if it please God to spare us all. 

" I am much obliged by your kind note, and for your 
readiness to meet my proposals. I thought, even if I 
stayed, and I still more think now that I am to go, that it 
will be on all accounts desirable that any new arrange- 
ments should be discussed by a committee and not by us 
two alone. I shall soon have ceased to be a member of 
the College. And if, as I am sure is the case, there is any 
unfavourable spirit abroad, it will probably be allayed by 
a meeting of that nature, and arrangements may be so 
made more readily than any other way. 


" I should propose that you, as Principal, summon a 
meeting of the whole body, as soon as Melvill returns from 
town. I will lay before them my own views, which I shall 
be happy to talk over with you first, if you desire it. They 
are simply, as I mentioned to you, to assimilate this 
College to an University College. I hope not to be obliged 
to leave this till the end of term, when I shall have com- 
pleted six years and a half of residence. I trust my 
successor will be a more efficient and a more prosperous man 
than I have been here, and that the College will soon rise 
out of the cloud which has lately obscured it 

" Yourself and Mrs. Lewellin will have our best hopes 
and prayers for your happiness and comfort here and 

** Believe me, my dear Mr. Dean, 
" Very sincerely yours, 

" E. Harold Browne." 



WHILE this negotiation was going on, Mr. Browne, 
though he reserved his right to remain at Lampeter, 
had made up his mind to leave the College. 

On the one hand his friends at Cambridge, on the other 
side the Bishop at Exeter, were eager to tempt him back 
to them. In the same month Mr. Browne was assailed 
from both sides. From Cambridge came a letter from 
Dr. Archdall, the Head of his College, urging him to 
become a candidate for the Norrisian Professorship, likely 
to be vacated by the promotion of Professor Corrie. He 
also received a letter from the- Bishop of Exeter ; so that 
before he began to deal with Dean Lewellin, he knew 
that the road was open for his retreat, should the position 
at Lampeter become untenable. 

The Bishop offered him the large and valuable benefice 
of Kenwyn-cum-Kea, in Cornwall. He writes : — 

" I scrupled to make the offer to you, because I feared 
that by your removal I should rob the Church in South 
Wales of one of its best supports. I have, however, lately 
heard that the health either of yourself or Mrs. Browne 
makes you desirous of establishing yourself in Cornwall. 
This intelligence has removed every scruple, and I no 
longer hesitate to offer you that Vicarage, with a Prebend 
(very ill-endowed) in the Cathedral at Exeter, and my 
Chaplaincy for Cornwall. 



"The income of Kenwyn is, I believe, between ^^500 
and ;^6oo per annum net, after paying large outgoings 
for curates, etc. The Prebend is merely sufficient to pay 
the expenses of journeying to Exeter to preach your turns 
in the Cathedral. The Chaplaincy carries with it only 
burthens ; yet of such a kind as will, I hope, accord with 
your own Church feelings, for I shall need a confidential 
assistant in Cornwall. 

If the offer is satisfying to you, I shall rejoice to have 
brought you back to the diocese of Exeter. At all events 
I have pleasure in thus testifying my high estimation of 

" I am, dear Sir, 

" Yours sincerely, 

" H. Exeter." 

From Cambridge also came a hint that he might be 
made Regius Professor in succession to Ollivant. 

" Harold says," writes Mrs. Browne, " there never was 
any man made so miserable by having the best preferment 
of two dioceses thrust upon him, with the addition of a 
Regius Professorship in the distance ! " 

We have in a letter from Mr. Browne to his favourite 
sister, a sketch of his views as to Kenwyn. It is obvious 
that his heart went out towards the proposal, and that, 
if duty would allow, inclination was hot for the change. 

" Kenwyn," he says, " is beautifully situated, an excellent 
house, on a hill about a mile from Truro. All the town 
population is divided into districts, in which there are 
separate district churches and clergymen. The church 
is easy to fill, the place, I believe, very healthy, the popula- 
tion rural. The Prebend may be a step to a Canonry, for 
the Canons elect out of the Prebendaries. It is close to 
Lizzy's family. The house is large and good, almost too 
large. These are the pros. The cons are, leaving the 
Bishop of St. David's, Melvill, and Mr. North, and leaving 
this College to get more in the mud than ever, I fear. 
The population of Kenwyn, though not large now, is 
scattered ; and less of income. I should have probably 


£700 instead of £'900 a year. But I always fear Lampeter 
may fail at any time. Kenwyn is a good living, and there 
are other advantages." 

Mr. Browne appears to have deferred his reply to the 
Bishop of Exeter till the day before that on which he dates 
his first communication to the Dean of St. David's. On 
the 6th of November he notifies to Bishop Philpotts that 
he desires to accept his offer. No wonder: whether one 
looks at Lampeter or at Kenwyn, there was much to turn 
the scale in favour of the latter. The new post would be 
a return to clerical from professional or scholastic work ; 
and Mr. Browne's mind ever turned towards the duties of 
the priest rather than towards those of the prophet. Next, 
the move would be a rise from a subordinate to an inde- 
pendent position ; from being under an unsympathetic 
Principal, to a place of honour as the trusted adviser for 
Cornwall of the Bishop of the diocese. He also, thought 
it would be of real benefit to his family. At Lampeter 
neither wife nor children seemed strong and well ; to go to 
Kenwyn was to take Mrs. Browne back to the place where 
she had spent her youth, where she was much beloved, 
where her father was living honoured of all. And one 
can well believe that the work at the College was 
much against the collar ; the Welsh students were dis- 
contented with the management ; there was no buoyancy 
about the work, but rather a feeling of precariousness. 
Any day there might be an explosion, after which he 
would find himself left with the weight of failure and 
of poverty on his shoulders. It was of this time that 
Mrs. Browne, speaking one day to Mrs. North, the wife 
of his most zealous and capable colleague, exclaimed in 
despair, " If Harold remains here longer he will go mad !" 
And, lastly, the kind-hearted Vice-Principal saw in the 
remove a painless way of putting a stop to that large 


expenditure in charity which had in the six years of his 
Lampeter life made him a prey to every needy person, 
worthy or unworthy, who could get access to him and 
could wheedle the shillings out of his pocket 

And so the balance dipped towards Cornwall. Mr. 
Browne had consulted friends whom he trusted, and 
especially Bishop Thirlwall. 

The Bishop of St. David's clearly saw that Mr. Browne 
could come to no other conclusion, for he writes, even 
before the communications with the Dean, the following 
letter :— 

" Abergwili, Novetnlmr tst, 1849. 

" My dear Sir, — I felt myself bound, for the sake of the 
College and the diocese, to set before you all the circum- 
stances depending on my own will, which might by 
possibility induce you to stay with us. But I did not 
imagine that they could have any great weight with you, 
so far as your own interest is concerned. And after the 
statement contained in your last letter I must say that I 
cannot even so much as wish to persuade you to come to 
a different resolution from that which you would have 
adopted if you had not heard from me, or from Mr. 
Melvill. Great as will be my concern for the public loss, 
it would only be exchanged for a different kind of regret, 
which I should never cease to feel, if I had induced you to 
make such a sacrifice of your domestic happiness as would 
evidently be involved in your retaining your present 
situation. I would rather beg you at once to abandon all 
thoughts of such a sacrifice, which I really think is not 
called for by any consideration of duty. You will certainly 
have made sacrifice enough, and will perhaps have con- 
ferred the most important of all benefits on the College, 
if you adopt the course which you suggest, of bringing its 
affairs into a better train, and of giving occasion for some 
provisions which may guard against the recurrence of past 
abuses. This is the only favour which I can now request 
from you, and I believe that you are the only person from 
whom I could expect ever to receive such a one. And 
unless some such step be taken by a person occupying a 
like position in the College, I see no prospect, or even 


possibility, of any reformation. I hear painful reports in 
various quarters of surmises and suspicions with regard to 
the management of the College, but they do not afford me, 
as Visitor, sufficient ground for taking the initiative in 
instituting an official enquiry, which nevertheless appears 
to have become necessary, if it were only to satisfy the 
public mind. If set on foot by you, it would undoubtedly 
be conducted in the way most likely to lead to a happy 

"Yours faithfully, 

" C. St. David's." 

Mr. Browne's decision brought the subject of a change 
in the College administration to a point. He felt that it 
was the time for him to speak out ; and drew up a plan 
for the redistribution of powers and functions, for the 
better adjustment of finance, and for the creation of a 
governing body, composed of the members of the College 
staff. The scheme appears to have been something of 
this kind : Taking a Cambridge College as the type, he 
proposed — (i) That finance and management should be 
entrusted to three persons, and that the whole staff (or 
corporate body) should act as auditors twice a year ; 
(2) That all College business should be transacted in formal 
College meeting, with a proper minute-book containing 
the " Acta " of such meetings ; (3) That, with the sanction 
and approval of the Bishop as Visitor of the College, 
the corporate body, consisting of the Principal, the Vice- 
Principal, Mr. Melvill, Mr. North, and the Archdeacon of 
Cardigan, should form a committee to meet and draw out 
a scheme of management. 

This scheme, in form of resolutions, Mr. Browne submitted 
to Bishop Thirlwall ; who approved of it, accepted it, and 
convened a meeting of the College staff. At this meeting 
Mr. Browne moved his resolutions, which were at once 
adopted, as the basis of an entirely new administration. 


Mr. North, afterwards Archdeacon of Cardigan, was 
appointed the first ** Steward," with charge of the actual 
catering and the financial affairs of the College — the side 
on which reform was most needed — and he " with much 
care and method readjusted the management of supplies, 
and reduced the charges on these accounts for the students 
to one-half their former amount, and all this with an im- 
proved arrangement for their comfort" 

Thereupon Mr. Browne began to make preparations for 
departure. This, as may well be believed, elicited a 
chorus of regrets from all his Lampeter friends. The 
inhabitants stood aghast at the news. 

The Bishop of the diocese speaks in terms of strong 
regret when he hears of it : — 

" I shall always," he says, " feel myself under obligations 
to you for the benefits you have conferred on the College 
and the diocese by your residence among us." 

The students of the College, who, some little time 
before, had joined in memorialising the Vice-Principal, 
begging him to publish his lectures on the Articles, directly 
they heard of his going collected a considerable sum of 
money, and had his portrait painted by Graves, to 
be placed in the College Hall, where it hangs, as a 
memorial of the best beloved of those men of mark who 
have struggled as Vice-Principals to lift the unwilling 
Institution to a higher level. Towards this portrait the 
poor parent of one of the students sent the considerable 
subscription of ;^3, with his regrets that " the College has 
been deprived of his valuable services, as well as that the 
* poor and broken in spirit * in this neighbourhood have 
lost the Christian succour of one of the most kind-hearted 
and benevolent of men." 


Many years after, when Dr, Jayne, then Principal, now 
Bishop of Chester, wrote to invite the Bishop of Winchester 
(April 1880) to revisit the College, he says : " It would give 
the greatest pleasure not only to the College Board and to 
your old pupils, but to the whole town of Lampeter, in 
which your memory is warmly cherished." 

Very soon after Mr. Browne had left the College came 
a supplemental charter granting to the governing body of 
St. David's College the power of conferring the degree of 
Bachelor of Divinity on such students as had duly passed 
through the course ; and on the first occasion of conferring 
Degrees, in June 1853, a banquet was held in honour of this 
marked advance in the fortunes of the College. The chair 
was taken by the Principal, Dean Lewellin, who with 
excellent tact and temper made no allusion to the changes 
which Mr. Browne had brought about, changes which must 
have been very distasteful to him ; for, if many men have 
been pleased with themselves for resigning their crown, none 
have ever felt gratified at being deposed. "In proposing 
the health of their late colleague, Mr. Harold Browne, 
the Principal spoke warmly of the many excellent and 
amiable qualities which distinguish that gentleman : his 
nice sense of honour, his strict impartiality, his great zeal, 
his piety and unequalled charity;" all which was true 
and generously said. It is strange, however, that he made 
no reference to the most marked characteristic of alU 
Mr. Browne's great stores of learning and mastery of his 
subjects, and the clearness and ability with which he 
handled the topics on which he lectured. 

One of his old pupils, in January 1850, contributed to 
the pages of the Haverford-West newspaper the following 
sketch : — 

" In person, Professor Browne is tall, too tall for his 
breadth. He has a very pleasing countenance, approaching 


to handsome, and has what is called a young look ; but 
what is most remarkable about it is its expression — open 
and benignant, in nothing common or trivial, but almost 
invariably betokening strong force of character. His 
actions correspond : there is nothing frivolous about them, 
nothing of the business man, nothing hurried, but mostly 
calm, collected, earnest, gentlemanly, strong. In the pulpit, 
he is quite sui generis^ not eloquent, but always to the point ; 
argumentative, aiming to instruct rather than to persuade — 
to dazzle he never tried. His language is condensed, never 
quaint ; his ideas as it were overleap his words, which latter 
are simple and arranged with very slight regard to rhythm. 
His manner of delivery is modest — too modest, but ener- 
getic in the extreme : as earnest as any pious man can 
wish it. His voice deep and loud, not much varied or 
over-musical, and emitted, as a singer would say, in the 
staccato style ; or one may say as well, very emphatically. 
In the lecture-room he is surprising for the extent and 
soundness of his learning, for the vast amount of comment 
he is able to make on the text in hand, which he delivers 
with difficulty, but with a perfect abandonment, except 
where he has occasion to give an opinion of his own ; then 
his modesty creates an evident change of manner. In 
explaining a point he turns it over and over again, so as 
to make it intelligible, one would think, to the meanest 
capacity in the room. He never aflfects display ; never 
utters what he thinks irrelevant ; never aims at amus- 
ing. ... To sum up, he is always to the point, seldom 
overdoes anything^ seldom aims at dazzling. He is, taking 
him all in all, about the best specimen of a Christian 
gentleman we have seen ; and to complete his character, 
he gives away, so we are told, about half his income in 
charity. — A Student of St. David's Collie." 

And thus Mr. Browne passed away from Lampeter, 
returning to parochial work and more directly spiritual 
duties with a sigh of relief. He seems to have been 
consulted about his successor, and to have advised the 
appointment of Mr. Williams, a brilliant Fellow of King's, 
a Welshman of the Welshmen, one of the most devout 
and prayerful of men, a liberal High Churchman of an 
independent type, endowed with one of the purest natures 


and most penetrating and philosophical intellects ever 
seen at Cambridge. Here was a man who, it was hoped, 
combined all the qualities required ; his Cambrian enthu- 
siasm, his learning, his fearless love of truth, his chivalrous 
defence of the spirit against the letter, seemed to mark 
him out as the future leader of Welsh Churchmanship. 
All his friends regarded his appointment to Lampeter as 
only the first step towards a Welsh bishopric. It was, as 
it fell out, just the other way. Had Mr. Williams stayed 
on at King's, taking life easy, and meddling little with 
the theological movements of the day, his goal, or rather 
the go^l his admirers set up for him, would probably have 
been reached. Lampeter was fatal to the most gifted of 
its teachers : his fine-strung irritable temperament was ill 
suited to the drudgery of the daily work, and his fearless 
advocacy of the truth awakened all the suspicions of 
religious people. They admired and feared. Though he 
was a devoted High Churchman, full of the grandest con- 
ceptions of the spiritual life of the Church, the chief 
persons in high place in the Church regarded him as 
dangerous. His influence over the College diminished ; 
the Bishop of St. David's ceased to support him ; the 
Calvinistic Welsh were scared and scandalised. Many 
things he did just thirty years too soon, and his vigorous 
and thoughtful writings added fuel to the fire, by a keen- 
ness of thrust and bitterness of tone which alarmed and 
alienated many who had no quarrel with his conclusions. 
His paper on Bunsen and Biblical Research in " Essays 
and Reviews" naturally created great excitement, and 
prudent people felt that this wild champion of truth, 
who defied conventionalities just as he rode a half-broken 
high-spirited horse, galloping over the rough hills near 
Lampeter, and as he went shouting aloud devout prayers 
to God, was not the man to guide the fortunes of a weak 


and struggling theological college. Of that College we 
may say, as he himself said of marriage : — 

" It is not every temper he could bear to live with ; and 
although not likely to be happy without a wife, he thought 
he might possibly be less happy with one." 

There can be no doubt that it was with a light heart 
and with a happy family around him that Mr. Browne 
bade farewell to Lampeter and his Welsh friends. Fare- 
wells to old comrades and friends are but as a piquant 
garniture to life, when one is eager for new work and 
changed scenes. And Kenwyn promised to be all he 
wished for: plentiful clerical work, congenial society in 
sufficient quantity, leisure to study and write, and above 
all, the knowledge that he would enjoy the confidence and 
countenance of his Bishop. He once told Mr. P. Dyke 
Acland that "he had worked harder at Kenwyn than at 
any other time in his life." It is not unlikely that this was 
also the period of the purest happiness he enjoyed in all 
his long and prosperous career. 

The institution to the Vicarage of Kenwyn with the 
Chapelry of Kea took place on January sth, 1850; and 
on the same day Mr. Browne was also installed in a 
Prebend in Exeter Cathedral Church. 

Throughout this first year of his cure of souls in 
Cornwall, Mr. Browne found his hands very full of work. 
He not only took full share in all parochial work, visiting, 
teaching, preaching, and supervising local charities, but 
also fulfilled his promise to his pupils at Lampeter by 
converting his College lectures on the Thirty-Nine Articles 
into a volume for the benefit of all future students of 

Kenwyn and Kea, of which he now became Vicar, are 
two distinct parishes; the one, Kenwyn, forming the 


northern suburb of Truro, and the other, Kea, lying 
somewhat to the south of that place, on the estuary. 
There were two churches to be served, as well as many 
outlying knots of population to be looked after. Though 
Kenwyn was a large parish, the " Church town," or popu- 
lation around the church, consisted solely of one farm- 
house, a few cottages, and a schoolroom. The whole parish 
was seven miles long and by no means easy to visit, as the 
hamlets were far apart. Among these scattered places 
Tregavethan was probably the most primitive ; there the 
inhabitants knew so little of education that, when Mr. 
Browne showed them some pictures of animals and birds, 
they were completely taken by surprise, and many were 
their exclamations of wonder and pleasure, when Mr. 
Browne turned out a picture of a duck. One of the boys, 
delighted at being able to recognise a friend, called out, 
" Why, that be old Gammer's Mallard ! " a phrase which 
would have won the heart at once of any Fellow of All 
Souls. Tregavethan, however, has long since lost its 
primitive ignorance ; it now boasts a resident landlord, 
and has a chapel of its own with regular services. At 
Tregavethan lived that nonconformist minister whose 
confidence Mr. Browne won so completely that one day 
after the boys of the hamlet had been unusually lively, 
and had broken the windows of his little chapel, he trudged 
afoot all the way to Kenwyn, in order to consult the 
Vicar as to the best way of putting an end to these petty 
outrages. He amazed Mr. Browne not a little, after 
describing his troubles, by saying, " And now, sir, what 
do you think I should do with the young rascals? Do 
you think, sir, I could shoot 'em ? " Mr. Browne, with a 
gravity which ill responded to his inner state of amuse- 
ment, refrained from advice supposed to be suitable for a 
Celtic disturbance, and thought he had better "hesitate 


to shoot." The good -will which this simple Methodist 
showed towards Mr. Browne existed between him and 
all the nonconformists. Though he made no secret of 
his opinions, he was so full of Christian simplicity and 
genuine affectionateness, that they were carried away by 
it, and lived with him on terms of great good-will and 
kindliness throughout his sojourn in Cornwall. When 
one remembers the vehemence of nonconformity and its 
strength in that county, and the fact that Mr. Browne was 
a decided High Churchman, we may well regard it as a very 
high testimony to the lovable qualities of his character. 

Kea, which lay on the other side of Truro, was treated 
almost as a sole cure. Perhaps the most notable thing 
about it was the very ancient and curious church plate, 
which dates back to the early part of the sixteenth century, 
and is said to have belonged to Rente d'Amboise, the 
elder daughter of Jacques d*Amboise, who was killed at 
the battle of Marignano in 1515. How it drifted into 
this out-of-the-way Cornish village is not known. When 
Mr. Browne came there, Kea was in the charge of 
the Rev. John Hardie, M.A., afterwards Archdeacon 
of Kaffraria, who continued for several years with the 
new vicar. 

The Vicarage at Kenwyn, which has since been enlarged 
as the home of the Bishop of Truro, was at this time a 
good -sized comfortable house, stone-built. It stands hard 
by the parish church, with its handsome Perpendicular 
tower, in a charming garden, just above Truro, overlooking 
the town and the valley with the gleaming river below. 
The fault of it was that, as Cornishmen say, it was built 
" agin the country," that is, with the ground rising directly 
at the back of it, so that the Vicar's study, which looked 
that way, was dangerously damp. Here, however, Mr. 
Browne lived in great contentment for about seven years, 



happy in the manifold opportunities he enjoyed of doing 
good, and in ministering to his fellows. 

Archdeacon Hardie has with much kindness provided 
me with several interesting facts respecting this period. 
He writes : — 

" At the time of Mr. Browne's appointment as Vicar of 
Kenwyn-cum-Kea I was curate in sole charge of Kea, 
having been previously, for a short time, assistant-curate 
of the joint parishes. I liked my post, and wished to 
retain it, but not knowing the new Vicar I took the liberty 
of writing to him without any personal introduction, offer- 
ing to remain. The returning post brought me a very 
friendly letter begging me to do so. 

" The town of Truro at that time lay in the two parishes of 
Kenwyn and St. Mary's, and (as not seldom happens) there 
had been small rivalries — not to say jealousies — between 
these parishes as to which should take the lead. 

" This state of things, though it did not altogether prevent 
community of work, certainly did not help it forward. 
Now there was nothing little about Harold Browne. He 
simply would not see these rivalries, but always went 
straight to the point in question, giving his unbiassed judg- 
ment with that quiet weight which was all his own. And 
it was soon felt that a power had come among us, which 
made its way to supremacy all the more easily because it 
was united with so much gentleness and fairness. The tone 
thus given to our local councils was the more valuable 
because party feeling was at that time running strong on 
Church and educational questions. I ought not to omit to 
mention that while his gentleness of tone was prevailing in 
public, there was the influence of a model Home at work in 
the same direction. 

"The family at the Vicarage consisted of rather un- 
common elements. Besides the Vicar and his wife and 
children, there were two elderly sisters of the Vicar, ladies 
of a good deal of character of their own, yet living in most 
perfect harmony with the younger members, and sharing 
all their interests. 

" A unity so rare could not fail to have an influence for 
good on all who witnessed it. And these were many, for 
Mrs. Browne belonged to an old Cornish family, several 


members of which were resident in Truro, and leaders of 
the society of the neighbourhood, especially her parents, 
whose public spirit and generous hospitality made them 
universally popular. Mrs. Browne, in coming to Kenwyn, 
brought her full share of this personal favour with her to 
• the Vicarage, so that the singular happiness of her new 
home was soon known to all the neighbours. I need not 
dwell on the good effects of such an exemplary life as that 
of the inmates of the Vicarage on the many who had the 
privilege of witnessing it. 

" Having described, however imperfectly, the Vicar's 
home, I must now say something of his work as a Parish 
Priest As I had sole charge of Kea, my parish work lay 
parallel to his rather than in common with it But we 
touched each other all along the frontier, and I had frequent 
opportunities of hearing of his diligent visiting and his large 
charity to those in want or sickness. Then again his purse 
was always open to any one in need on my side of the 
border, and although he was most delicate in his treatment 
of me personally (consulting me about Kea as if I were a 
brother Vicar), yet he always gave cheerfully and liberally 
towards the schools and charities of Kea, although that 
Parish brought very little income to him. 

" Again, a marked trait in his character was his sympathy 
with sorrow. I should be ungrateful indeed if I did not 
make mention of an instance of this quality, exemplified as 
it was in my own case. A very near and dear relation had 
been taken from me by death, and the loss had completely 
unnerved me. The Vicar insisted on my giving up work 
and going away, he undertaking to fulfil the duties of the 
parish in my absence. On my return, I found that an 
epidemic disease had prevailed, and that for a whole fort- 
night he had been personally visiting my sick, as well as his 
own, rather than recall me (as most men would certainly have 
done) to my duty. This is the way to win hearts, and 
mine was twice his from that day forward. Unhappily the 
overwork affected him seriously, and made me doubly regret 
my own want of nerve. As soon as he was able to get 
about again he was at work, with his usual diligence, in his 

" I ought to say something of his preaching, for it was 
regarded by those who heard him habitually as not the 
least of his many strong points. But only on rare occasions 
had I this privilege, for when he preached at Kea I was 


ordinarily obliged to fill his place, however feebly, at Kenwyn, 
or more frequently at a little chapel in Old Kea, where we 
were in turn responsible for a Sunday service. The few 
sermons which I heard of his were quite above the common, 
reflecting the * sweet reasonableness ' of the man's whole 
mind and character, distinct in their teaching, but not too 
abstract for the heads of his hearers. I was much struck 
by the ingenuity with which day by day he linked the text 
he had chosen to some large field of Christian duty, and 
applied it to the consciences of all his hearers, but especially 
to the younger ones, without ever repeating himself, in the 
course of the week or ten days of our tour. 

" From the Bishop's teaching I am naturally led to say 
something of his ordinary conversation, for though that 
was as unlike preaching as possible, there was always 
much good to be gotten from it, in his invariably sensible 
and kindly judgment on things in general. Often too it 
was seasoned with the salt of quiet humour. I wish I 
could recall some instances of this, but my memory has 
only preserved the conclusion of a conversation in which 
1 finally resigned my charge of Kea into his hands. He 
said there was an old proverb that * no man could expect 
to have more than one thoroughly good horse in his life,* 
adding, with one of his sweet smiles, that he * hoped that 
what was true of horseflesh might not prove true of 
curates also.' I was amused, and at the same time 
gratified, by what was implied, and, as I remember, bade 
him not despair, for it was a well-known fact that the 
performance of the steed depended very much on the hand 
of the master." 

No more pleasing picture of the relation between vicar 
and curate can be imagined. It bears witness to the 
affectionate character, the innate goodness, the readiness to 
" spend and be spent," the absolute freedom from personal 
assertion, which marked the whole of the Bishop's career. 

This was an important period in Mr. Browne's life. The 
years at Kenwyn ripened him into a thorough parish 
priest. In parochial activity and organisation, in spiritual 
work with his flock, in literary undertakings, and in a rapid 
advance in public estimation as one of the most rising of 


the younger Churchmen, Mr. Browne made admirable use years, from 1850 to 1856 ; and this though at the 
time his health was very much impaired, and he was 
long confined to his house, and even to his bed. The 
period and the place both combined to bring Mr. Browne 
into prominence ; it was now nine years since the cele- 
brated " Tract 90 " had first seen the light, and things had 
moved onward somewhat rapidly. In 1845 the ablest con- 
tributor to the Tracts had been received into the Church 
of Rome, and men who had sympathised with him in his 
theological views, and in the endeavour to infuse more of 
the spirit of mediaeval usage and dignity into the somewhat 
chilly frame of Anglicanism, were obliged to reconsider 
their position. A few passed boldly over to Rome; the 
rest strengthened themselves in the middle position 
which their Church seemed naturally fitted to maintain ; 
the body politic rocked and swayed awhile, and then 
settled down into a steady course, which it has, on the 
whole, pursued without serious change from that time for- 
ward. Among the older High Churchmen no one was 
more definite in his standpoint than the Bishop of Exeter ; 
among the younger clergy hardly anyone understood his 
ground so well, or explained the position so clearly, as 
did Mr. Browne. The years at Lampeter had given him 
time to secure himself in his firm and almost enthusiastic 
belief in the sufficiency of the English Church, and in the 
soundness of her credentials. No more loyal Churchman 
ever existed. 

It may be said of theologians, as S. T. Coleridge says 
in the " Aids to Reflection " of mankind in general, that 
they are all by nature either Aristotelians or Platonists. 
And the High Church movement has distinctly passed 
through both these phases of thought. The earlier 
Anglicans, mostly from Oxford, had their minds full of 


Aristotle, and treated the " Ethics " with a respect almost 
equal to that which was felt for the Bible. While here 
and there one, like William Sewell, was a poetic Platonist, 
who saw the Christian Church adumbrated in the " De 
Republica," the bulk of Oxford thinkers had been nursed 
on Aristotle's knees, and were deeply embued with the 
leading doctrine of the Aristotelian morality, the "doc- 
trine of the mean " betwixt extremes. The whole tendency 
of Oxford teaching gravitated, as if by a law of nature, 
towards the middle point, the point of balance between 
excess and defect. And this was true in many fields. 
Aristotle, in applying it specially to morals, had not there- 
by limited the application ; in politics, in social life, in 
theology, the hkppy man was the man who avoided 
extremes, and kept the middle course. The bulk of the 
High Church clergy of that day fell in with this view, and 
were as anxious to avoid the too high as the too low 
position. No one defended this middle ground more 
clearly, or with more learning and temper, than Mr. 
Browne. No one ever was, on the other hand, a more 
remarkable example of the modern saying that " but for 
the extremes, the mean would never rise." For his middle 
point was in every sense a higher one than that of his 
predecessors, and the rise was clearly caused by the 
aspirations of those who held the more extreme views. 
The Low Church side helped less than the other ; yet 
their insistence on individual responsibility, and the real 
importance of a living faith and a spiritual view of 
religion, kept the middle party from risks of formalism 
and of a too systematised view of Church life and polity. 
On the other side, the doctrines relating to the community 
of the Church, by which the individual partly loses his 
prominence, and the body politic answers for him, formed 
an essential part of that high middle course which the 


best Churchmen had learnt to tread. To Mr. Browne the 
theory of a strongly organised national Church, whether 
established or not, was the palladium of religion. While 
he always contended stoutly against Roman innovations, 
and the claims set forth by the chief polemic writers of 
the Roman obedience, he endeavoured with all his force 
to strengthen the position of Anglicanism, as a thoroughly 
organised and independent branch of the Church Catholic, 
The keystone of his system was Episcopacy. An Epis- 
copate transmitted by due succession from the earliest 
times, a clergy called of God and admitted by their 
Bishops in due form into the ministry of the Church ; a 
strong coherent system of Church government and admin- 
istration, with ramifications first over all England, and then 
by Episcopal transmission across the vast breadth of the 
English dominions and wherever the English-speaking 
race has made a home, — this, he held, was the right way 
in which to build up a really National Church. There 
is something congenial to the English temperament in 
this practical application of the Aristotelian philosophy ; 
to most of us the high-soaring views of Plato and his 
school seem to be dreams, wanting in solidity and out 
of touch with the everyday average needs and struggles 
of mankind. We accept the political philosophy of 
the "Politics," while we think of the "Republic" of Plato 
as Utopian. And the earlier High Church movement^ 
unaffected by chance votaries of Plato, made an Anglicanism 
of moderate pretensions its aim. Since then the movement 
has developed itself on other lines ; and the most prominent 
minds have in fact abandoned Aristotle for Plato. Later 
utterances as to the spiritual life, the shrinking from hard 
dogmatism and preference for a mystic theology, the belief 
that in some sense Plato's "Idea" lies at the root of the 
relations, personal or sacramental, between God as declared 


to US in the Person of Jesus Christ, and man in his rege- 
nerate life, — these things mark the later development of 
High Church theology, and have created a new and a more 
liberal school of Churchmanship. With this later state of 
religious opinion Bishop Harold Browne was never fully in 
sympathy ; it seemed to him to bring men perilously near 
to the theology and polity of the Roman Church, and to 
be ill-defined, leading no man could say to what end. Con- 
sequently, while he remained firmly fixed in his strong 
position, and while his work on the Thirty-Nine Articles 
was a temperate expression of the Anglican view of Chris- 
tian doctrine and organisation, the modem High Church 
party has shaken itself free from the conservative position 
there taken up, and has chafed at the moderation then dis- 
played, calling it, in the matter of the Sacraments, a " mere 
following of Hooker." Strong partisans hate to be checked 
by ancient formulas ; the modern High school, of which the 
note is spirituality, has perhaps more sympathy with the 
earnest Nonconformist, who insists on the need for conver- 
sion and a spiritual life, than with the theology which rests 
on ordinances, and shuns irregular outbursts, and stands 
aloof from the reign of enthusiastic emotion. And so it 
came about that in the end the steadfast Bishop, who at 
first had been accused of extreme High Church leanings^ 
came often to be the object of the lofty pity, and perhaps 
of the ignorant scorn, of the " advanced " clergy, who felt 
his learning, his moderation, and his definite position a 
hindrance to the success of their eager " forward movement" 

Three things specially marked the years of Mr. Browne's 
life at Kenwyn : the zeal and activity of his parochial 
work ; his share in the agitation for the revival of Con- 
vocation ; and, by no means least, the publication of hi§ 
work on the Thirty-Nine Articles. 


The population of Kenwyn was mainly scattered over 
a large area, and required a pastor who could be active in 
moving from point to point, and fearless in facing every 
kind of weather. To meet the difficulties — which pressed 
hardly on a man of his delicate constitution — Mr. Browne 
bought a horse, and though, by reason of his stature, he 
was not a good figure for riding, made great use of it for 
visiting all parts of the parish. Against bad weather he 
got himself a panoply which, as he used to say, left only 
his face to be drowned when the Cornish sea-mists came 
over thick and wet, and he was obliged to ride forth to 
visit the sick. An ample waterproof cloak, and " anti- 
gropelos " encasing his long legs, enabled him to defy the 
dirt and damp. He must have been a Quixotic figure on 
his steed plodding through the miry lanes, intent on some 
charitable or spiritual errand. 

His parish work was very carefully organised. Each 
curate had his division as a kind of sole charge, and there 
were district visitors for smaller areas. He drew up for 
them a paper of enquiries, so that the visitors might 
furnish him with facts as to the condition of his people. 
One of these papers has been preserved. The lady who 
filled it up had to visit twenty-one houses, with a popu- 
lation of about a hundred souls. The form asked for the 
names of inhabitants, their occupation, number in each 
house, ages, the religious body to which they belonged ; it 
enquired whether the people could read, whether they had 
a Bible, whether the children had been baptised, whether 
they were at school, and where, and lastly, whether the 
grown-up members of the household were communicants. 
Most of these questions were answered simply ; there is 
only one entry of an unusual kind : " There is a Brianite 
class and prayer-meeting held in this house ; daughter 
most painfully ignorant." 


Mr. Browne was bound to spend nearly two-thirds of 
the year as Professor at Cambridge, and the effect was seen 
in troubles with his curates. The times were trying for 
warm-hearted enthusiastic young clergymen ; the spiritual 
fervour of the Aitkenite movement, the necessity of 
dealing with the strong Wesleyanism of the Comishmen, 
and other difficulties, combined to create a restlessness 
in some of his young helpers, which ended in the 
secession of one of them to the Roman Church. What 
Professor Browne could do he did with the utmost 
kindness ; but he was much away, and often far from 
strong in health, so that much of his valuable influence 
evaporated in the post-office. His letters of this period 
show us how faithfully and kindly he treated his fellow- 
workers, and how completely he was the father as well 
as the master of these young men. One of the curates, 
the Rev. Walter James, a man of no small gifts and an 
excellent preacher, has left us a very pleasing picture 
of the Professor's character and surroundings at this time. 
He tells us that " Aitkenism," which was " popularly 
supposed to be a wedding of a scion of the Wesleyan 
doctrine of sensible conversion upon the stock of Trac- 
tarian theology," abounded in the neighbourhood of 
Kenwyn ; that the incumbent of Baldhu, a district taken 
out of Kenwyn and Kea, had warmly taken up the 
Aitkenite views ; and that one of the curates was very 
deeply impressed by them. In the unsettlement which 
followed, Mr. James says : — 

"I found unspeakable help in the teaching and en- 
couragement of my dear Vicar. I felt also — and herein 
lies much to justify Aitken's line — that as a rule too many 
of us had not quite grasped the nature of true absolution 
and release from the stains of past sin, and the power of 
evil in the heart of the regenerate." " During these years/' 
he adds in another place, "the Vicar stood out over the 


troubled sea as a beacon-light, — for his mind was many- 

" * NuUius addictus jurare in verba magistri ' seemed to be 
his principle, because he could see so much good in all 
presentments of revealed truth. It was a difficult matter 
often to extract from him what he really thought Hence 
we learnt gradually to appraise the value of our own 
crude thoughts before submitting them to his judgment ; 
and so hereby his habitual caution taught us to avoid rash 
statements, to challenge much that was conventionally 
current in the Church as correct doctrine, and so to separate 
the wheat from the chaff, and learn more and more to 
• hold the Head.' 

" Our Vicar treated us like sons, — gave us our heads pretty 
much, encouraged us in pastoral visitation, and in the 
Sunday services would insist on taking a greater share 
than his then delicate health seemed to justify. When we 
used to say to him, * You are doing all the work and 
leaving us but little,' he would reply, * You will be all the 
more able to work when you have a parish of your 

In connexion with this letter, we may quote one from 
Professor Browne to Mr. James, written in June 1853, at 
a time when the writer had been obliged by overwork and 
ill-health to give up all work for a time, and, instead of 
hastening down from Cambridge to Kenwyn, was taking 
a much-needed holiday near Falmouth : — 

*' Flushing, /««^ 14/*, 1853. 

"My dear Mr. James, — I am sorry to leave you so 
soon all alone. If you knew how near I feel to the grave 
or to utter helplessness, when reduced to the depressed 
state in which I have been lately, you would appreciate 
the absolute necessity for change, if I would either consult 
the interests of my own family, to whom my life is of 
consequence, or my own prospects of usefulness in the 
post where the Chief Captain has placed me." 

Then, after giving his friend some minute instructions 
respecting parish-work, instructions which show that, in 
spite of his manifold and engrossing duties elsewhere, 


Kenwyn was always very near his heart, and that he well 
knew his scattered flock, he ends the letter with a piece 
of advice and warning, couched in such charming language 
as a wise elder brother might use towards a clever and 
ambitious younger boy. 

" Will you pardon me," he writes, " if I speak my mind 
plainly to you, and as becomes an elder working in the 
same sacred and responsible calling ? You appear to me 
likely to make a remarkably able * Minister of the New 
Testament* You will therefore in all probability have 
to encounter the peculiar and most dangerous temptation 
of popularity. I do not know whether or not you 
are much open to the assaults of such a temptation ; 
but probably there is no one altogether proof against 
it, without a large measure of strength from above. 
' Forewarned, forearmed.* Our connection, and its very 
sacred character, gives me boldness to hint this to you, 
and I much mistake your disposition if you do not accept 
it as it is intended.** 

Again, in 1854, after Mr. James had left Kenwyn, he 
reverts to the same topic : — 

** My feeling has long been that your usefulness would 
be much greater in the pulpit if you gave a little more 
time to the composition of your sermons. They appear 
to me to want substance ; which you make up for by 
energy in delivery. Your remarkably fine voice and that 
very energetic delivery will surely make you very popular 
among the poor. But that very popularity may prevent 
you from seeing defects. I am inclined to think that 
really useful preaching is about the most uncommon 
qualification in a clergyman — popular preaching being 
one of the most common. 

" I should advise you to trust more to the strength of 
your matter than to the force of your manner. 

" I should recommend you to take a passage of Scripture 
and expound it, and then deduce from it lessons of faith 
and practice. This is generally likely to give more thread 
to your discourse and more instruction to your hearers 
than the custom of taking a text as merely the heading 
of an address to your people. 


" I should also suggest that the denunciations of the 
Law are very needful, but that they should not supersede 
the invitations of the Gospel. The peculiar office of 
Christ's ministers is to preach good tidings. We have 
committed to us the ministry of reconciliation ; and its 
message is that * God was in Christ reconciling the world 
unto Himself, and not imputing their trespasses unto 
them.' I am well aware that the poor are so dull and 
insensible that they often not only bear, but benefit by, 
strong denunciations which, to the educated, are not only 
useless but disagreeable. And I feel more fully that the 
educated and religious are not judges of what is necessary 
to awaken the uneducated and ungodly. Yet my own 
impression, in listening to some of your sermons, has been 
that they would have been more impressive, even to the 
poor, if they had been less severe. The most reckless and 
abandoned do not form part of any congregation. The 
result is that denunciations of great vice seldom reach 
the consciences of members of our congregations. Such 
denunciations give great pleasure to the poor, for two 
reasons ; one, because they like anything which rouses 
them up and excites their attention ; the other, because 
they are very fond of hearing their neighbours' sins con- 
demned. Home-thrusts tell much more on the conscience 
than denunciations, — such at least is my impression. 

" In all I am saying, I fear that I may be liable to cramp 
your style. But still I think I should not act kindly 
to you if I did not give you the best advice I can 
before it is too late for you to change your tack. If you 
follow my views, I think it not impossible that you may 
not be quite so popular with the poor — ^^though I am not 
sure even of that — but I think you will attract the attention 
of the educated more, and I hope you will find that your 
preaching is more effectual to all. 

" If I did not highly value you, and believe that you have 
it in you to become a very able and successful servant of 
our great Master, I should care much less to point out to 
you what seem to me your principal defects. I believe 
it is partly because we have, generally speaking, no one 
to give us any hints at our first starting in life that most 
of us make such very indifferent preachers and parish 
priests. Livius has often taken me to task for not sufficiently 
expressing my opinions on such subjects to him ; and now, 
perhaps, you will complain that I have erred on the other 


side. I walked one day from church with you, meaning 
to open the question in conversation ; but something you 
said about not having time then for sermons made me 
think it better to defer it till the ordination was over. If 
I have now expressed myself in any manner that seems 
to you uncalled for, pray attribute it to inadvertence, not 
intention. Very imperfectly, I know, I have expressed 

Though the aim of this kind letter apparently was to 
bring down his curate's ambitious eloquence to a more 
practical level, to a safe and useful mediocrity instead of 
a heroic effort, Mr. James showed no unwillingness to 
accept the advice ; and indeed, as the following quotation 
will show, he preferred that more deliberate and even flow 
of reasoned appeal and learned instruction, seasoned with 
humility, with which his Vicar's utterances abounded. He 
says : — 

" It was a treat to listen to his sermons, and to mark the 
silence and close attention displayed by the congregation, 
as each carefully-weighed sentence fell from his lips. His 
delivery was marked by deep solemnity of intonation, 
so much so that the vocal chords of his voice seemed to 
vibrate, and almost to tremble, from the intensity of his 
convictions. This, I think, made his sermons, whether 
simple or of a deeper theological cast, take such hold of 
the feelings as well as the reasoning powers of those who 
listened. The thoughtful among the Wesleyans were 
specially attracted by his preaching. It was often a tre- 
mendous strain on him. He once declared to me that 
he sometimes felt he should die in the act of preaching." 

And as a final touch, shewing what sweet influences 
surrounded the young earnest curate of Kenwyn, let us add 
the charming words in which he refers to the effect on him 
of the domestic life, glimpses of which he saAV from time 
to time within the walls of Kenwyn Vicarage : — 

" Of her who was the sunshine of the home — who showed 
her husband's curates all the kindness and indulgence of 


a mother — I would fain say more than I dare. They were 
a pair such as one seldom met; light-holders in their 
neighbourhood in all circumstances, and in much heavy 
trial giving out warmth and enlightenment to those who 
were privileged to call them friends. It is forty years ago 
since I heard the fine silvery peal of eight call from Kenwyn 
steeple the living to the House of Prayer. I seem to hear 
them now, as I 'consider the days of old and the years 
that are past,' and the loved ones gone on before awaiting 

Another record of this same period has still to be given. 
Among the curates of this Kenwyn period was a clever 
earnest-minded young man, whose disposition made him 
very susceptible to the influences around him, and who 
did not hesitate to push his convictions to their fullest 
interpretation. At first he was deeply impressed by Mr. 
Aitken's teaching and example. Of this state of his mind 
his warm-hearted colleague, the Rev. Reginald Barnes, 
gives us one little glimpse in a letter dated October i8th, 
1855, in which he says that — 

" X came in and brought with him Mr. Knott, the late 
Oxford Proctor and incumbent of St. Saviour's, Leeds, 
who had been staying with him at Aitken's. They talked 
for two hours ; but it seemed to me in great measure with 
zeal without knowledge." 

Professor Browne appears, hereupon, to have written 
a kind and cooling letter to his curate, in fear lest his 
enthusiasm might carry him he knew not whither; for 
a few days after the above had been sent to him, he 
writes, apparently in reply to Mr. Barnes, on the 8th of 
November : — 

" I have received a letter of TWENTY pages from X 
to-day, which is not so pleasant to me as his former letters. 
He seems to me to have more of Haslam's mode of writing 
than he had before. I am very grieved to have any 


misunderstanding with him, but he left me no alternative 
but either to endure all his proceedings or else to refuse 
my consent to them." 

And this want of sympathy continued for more than a 
year, during which period the curate, feeling that the High 
Church Methodism of his friends Mr. Knott and Mr. 
Aitken did not meet all his aspirations, drew slowly and 
decidedly away, until by the end of 1856 he had left 
Kenwyn, and wrote to Professor Browne announcing his 
intention of being received into the Church of Rome. 

Mr. Browne's reply is so grave and kindly that it must 
be given in full : — 

"The Close, Exeter. 

** January 24th, 1857. 

"My dear X,— I have just received from 

letter which has caused me very great pain, though per- 
haps not very great surprise. I was already aware that 
the almost inevitable tendency of the school into which 
you had recently been thrown was towards Rome, and 
indeed I had warned you of it. There has been, alas ! 
a great estrangement between us lately. But I am sure 
you will yet allow me to write to you. Not that I feel I 
am likely to move you by arguments, for I know that feeling, 
and not reason, always guides people to the step which 
you contemplate. But I feel that, whilst you were my 
curate, something, probably my own deficiencies in zeal 
and ability as God's minister, led you to search for other 
counsel and guidance than mine. And though I cannot 
reproach myself for either harshness in differing from you, 
or weakness in yielding to your opinions, I can yet see 
abundant reason in my own heart why I should not have 
had all the influence with you which from our relative 
positions I ought to have had. Hence I am willing, if 
possible, to make one more effort to stop your course to 
what I think a most grievous fall ; ineffectual as all my 
former reasonings have ever been. 

" I quite know, as I said before, and as you say in your 

letter to , that argument is not the thing. I will only 

beg you then to consider one or two points. First of all 


in the four or five years that I have known you you have 
undergone many changes of opinion. By early education 
you were what is called Evangelical ; by Oxford influences 
you had become very High Church, and, as I should say, 
very ««-EvangelicaL As far as I could influence you, I 
wished to reawaken some of your former Evangelical 
feelings, and yet to keep you attached to the Church. 
Messrs. Aitkin and Haslam completely overrode any 
influence I might have tried to use (as imperceptibly as 
I could), and made you a Methodist From this Church 
Methodism (or whatever we may call it), you have gradually 
come round to Romanism. Though I do not deny that 
in this circle you may all along have been revolving round 
an unseen centre of attraction, yet you must allow that 
the revolution involved considerable changes of sentiment. 
In each you seemed very confident of your ground ; and 
though you allowed me to reason with you, you never 
yielded one inch to my reasonings. Now, you have not 
long come to your present position. Think, whether it is 
not possible that you may one day find it as untenable 
as those you have held before. But once take the step, 
and it is almost irrevocable. Vestigia nulla retrorsum. 
There is a spell in Romanism that seems to hold its 
converts bound by it. You may yet find, too late, that 
you have broken all the dearest ties of life only for the 
sake of a new phase of belief — not for the Truth itself. 

" You are dissatisfied with the system of the Church of 
England, and so are some of the earnest friends with whom 
you have lately taken your stand, and conversed in thought 
and prayer. Your feeling is, that such is the natural 
course of earnest and devout minds. Now, let me just 
tell you some of my own experiences of the opposite 

** I know some devout Roman Catholics, the children of 
a pious mother, of intellects far superior to any of those 
' with whom, as far as I know, you have been mostly thrown. 
I know that through a course of more than twenty years, 
apart from Protestant influence, only among English and 
Irish Roman Catholics, in much prayer and anxiety and 
study, they have gradually, calmly, painfully, come to the 
conclusion that they must either abandon their reason 
entirely to the government of others, or conclude that their 
Church is idolatrous. They find the Saviour obscured by 
the Virgin Mother, and the recent declaration, in favour of 



the Immaculate Conception, has finally determined them 
to leave the communion of Rome and embrace that of 
England. They have done so quietly, unostentatiously, 
sorrowfully, but decidedly. And they look with amazement 
at the English churchmen who have left the English 
Church for that of Rome. They say that, whilst most 
educated and serious Roman Catholics in this country are 
deploring the extravagance to which the hierarchy are 
going, Protestants are rushing over to them and outdoing 
even the most extravagant of the Romish divines. 

" I. Let me say another thing. When you took to the 
Church Methodist system, though I deplored its fanaticism 
and your adoption of it, I still rejoiced that you appeared 
to have anew embraced the blessed truths of the Incarna- 
tion and Atonement, of human helplessness to attain 
salvation, and of the need of implicit reliance on Christ 
only for salvation. Now, read any of the writings of any 
of the Reformers, in England, Germany, Switzerland, where 
you will — attach as little credit as you like to them, but 
their testimony is uniform, that the teaching of the Roman 
Church in their day was all but Christless. They could 
not, dared not, have so testified if that teaching had really 
been full of Christ, Here is one fruit of the Tree whose 
leaves, you have learned to believe, are for the healing of 
the nations. I do not say that the new doctrines of the 
Reformation did not so far interpenetrate even Rome as 
to revive some truth on this ground-doctrine of the faith. 
But this is due to the Reformation, not to Rome. 

" 2. I will mention another fruit. My firm and deep 
conviction is that, ever excepting the sin of Judas Iscariot, 
the deadliest and most damning sin ever committed by 
man was committed for centuries by the Church of Rome, 
was part of its system, sprang from it, was generated from 
its very life-blood. I mean the Inquisition, I know the 
Reformation was not wholly without persecution, but it 
owed that to its imperfect emerging from Rome. It soon 
disowned it. 

" 3. Another fruit of the same system has been the 
doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, obscuring, perhaps 
overthrowing, the doctrine of the Incarnation itself — at all 
events, placing Mary between us and Jesus, who is the one 
Mediator between God and man. 

" 4, One more fruit. Look at Spain and Italy, the two 
great seats of Romanism, where it has flourished most, 


and had its fullest sway. Are there any two Christian 
nations so sunk in morals and intelligence and religion? 
I believe you might go through the map of Europe and 
write Protestant against the names of every flourishing^ 
moral, and intellectual people ; and Romanist against all 
those who have fallen most, either religiously or intellectu- 
ally. There may be one or two exceptions, not more. 
* Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles ? ' 

" Are not all these facts (I do not call them arguments) 
some reason for pausing before embracing the views and 
entering the communion of a Church from which all this 
has grown out ? God knows I have no wish to hurt your 
feelings, or offend you. If I speak in strong terms, believe 
me, it is neither from want of kind feeling for yourself nor 
from fondness of speaking harshly of Christians, Churches^ 
or Sects from which I differ. I am rather wont to err in 
the other extreme. Conscious of my own sins and infirmi- 
ties, and of the imperfection of every institution not wholly 
divine, I prefer to speak gently of the errors of others and 
of the faults of other communions. Perhaps I have erred 
in this way in my former intercourse with you. Hoping to 
influence you by gentle arguments, or without arguments, 
I have sometimes let you think I did but slightly disapprove 
what I deeply deplored. Now probably it is too late. We 
are no longer connected as we once were. You have long 
ceased to regard my words or opinions. I can only pray 
for you — most imperfect, sinful prayer, I well know, but 
offered through the ONE Mediator ; and for all the sins of 
the worshipper, I believe that they can reach from earth 
to heaven through that one Mediator, who is the Ladder 
on which angels ascend and descend from man to God,, 
and from God to men. 

" Pray forgive me if I have said anything to pain you. 
Pray, do not hastily take the irrevocable step. What is 
involved in it I do not know — for this world and for the 

" Be assured that I am ever, with much regard, but in 
deep sorrow, 

" Yours most truly, 

"Harold Browne." 

This grave and affectionate effort to stay his young 
friend from taking the irrevocable step was unsuccessful. 


The young man passed over, and has since become some- 
what well known as a controversialist, and upholder of those 
Ultramontane doctrines which took form mainly under the 
Pontificate of Pius IX., in 1854, and at the s6-styled 
CEcumenical Council of 1869. 

In all matters of parish work and organisation as well 
as in this fatherly treatment of his curates, Professor 
Browne was an admirable chief. In those days, guilds, 
clubs, associations were almost unknown ; but such 
machinery as there was he used prudently and con- 
scientiously. He organised district-visiting and education 
with great care, while his pen engrossed his spare hours, 
and made serious calls on his scanty leisure hours. As 
we should have expected, Mr. Browne's relations with 
the clergy of his parish were always admirable. One 
of those who were under him at Kenwyn, the Rev. F. C. 
Jackson, Rector of Stanmore, speaks warmly of this 
characteristic of his Vicar's ministry. 

"We worked as friends, he expressing himself always 
as one who was in all respects my equal. I had had but 
two years' experience in parish work when Harold Browne 
asked me to come and join him. I remember quite well 
his laying stress on this helping him, in contradiction to 
being his curate. 

" His solicitude for the welfare of his parish was always 
marked by the interest he took in all that I had to tell 
him of outlying districts, and he it was who under these 
circumstances laid the foundations of the School and 
Mission Room at Tregavethan. No man with whom I 
have been in contact has the influence of Harold Browne 
over young men. There was a tacit yet unmistakable 
sympathy which appealed at once to a young man's con- 
fidence; and the benefit conferred upon many a man 
during those few years at Kenwyn lasts even now with 
those of us who remain. . . . Many of those who in their 
young days start aside from religious constraint, not 
necessarily into infidelity, were restrained by this influence. 
Few men among the clergy of those days were better received 


and venerated among Nonconformists than Mr. Browne — 
he never committed himself, as others have unfortunately 
done, to the error of pitying patronage." 

There was another marked element of his activity, 
an element which may be said always to characterise a 
well-worked parochial system, and to denote an earnest 
and spiritual-minded clergyman. This was the develop- 
ment at Kenwyn of an interest in Foreign Mission work. 
In a Pastoral Letter issued in 1880 from Farnham Castle 
the Bishop refers to this. 

" I have long believed," he writes, " that interest in 
Missionary work cannot be kept up by a single annual 
sermon in church, and by a few meetings in our towns, 
with deputations sent by parent societies. All sermons 
are not impressive, nor their influence lasting ; all deputa- 
tions are not eloquent ; very few in the towns themselves, 
and still fewer in the villages round about, will frequent 
the meetings. I am sure that by far the best way of 
keeping up interest and increasing funds is by working 
effectually parish associations, and by trying to bring home 
to every family, and as far as possible to every member 
of every family, a knowledge of and a feeling for the work 
which the Church is doing abroad. I have often expressed 
my opinion that every parish ought to have its own Mis- 
sionary organisation, regularly and systematically worked. 
In 1842 I became Incumbent of a large town parish (St. 
Sidweirs, Exeter). My predecess9r had had an annual 
sermon and an annual meeting in the schoolroom for 
S.P.G. and C.M.S., and some of his district visitors collected 
for it ; but the funds gathered were very small. I tried to 
improve upon this. We had a meeting in the schoolroom, 
where I announced my intention to divide the parish into 
districts, each of which was to be canvassed for Missions 
by district collectors, who would leave cards in every 
house, circulate Missionary publications, and call once a 
week or once a month, as the inhabitants might prefer, 
for weekly or monthly contributions, the sum collected to 
be entered on the respective cards. In addition to this 
Missionary boxes were deposited in any or shops, 
where they would be accepted and useful. We had still 


our annual sermon, and once a quarter instead of once a 
year we had a meeting in the schoolroom, the speakers 
being the clergy of tiie parish and any neighbouring 
clergyman or layman who would come in and help us. 
We gave simple addresses, sometimes lectures illustrated 
by pictures and maps. The result of the whole movement 
was to quadruple the funds in the very first year. 

" Ten or eleven years after, I tried the same scheme in 
a large country parish in Cornwall (Kenwyn), with still 
more marked success. It was surprising to see how the 
people flocked from the country round, some from great 
distances, to the quarterly meetings. The result was not 
only to swell the funds of the Societies, but to interest a 
great number of the farmers and of the poor in Church 
Missions, and so in Church work generally. Whilst there 
had been only annual sermons in the church, and annual 
meetings in the neighbouring town, the people (who in 
Cornwall are mostly Wesleyans) did not even know that 
the Church had any missions to the heathen. I can con- 
fidently say that no work in church, school, or cottage 
had so favourable an influence in gathering my people 
round me, and conciliating dissenters to the Church, as 
this exhibiting to them continually the Church as a great 
missionary body, and this interesting of them personally 
in mission work. They learnt for the first time to believe 
that the Church was working in earnest for the salvation 
of souls." 

Thus, in every way Church life at Kenwyn was raised, 
and a higher tone infused into it, by Mr. Browne's remark- 
able personality and simple earnestness. It used to be 
thought that the Churchman who used his pen could not 
also be a good parish priest ; the learned should have 
leisure, the practical parishes : he, however, combined both 
with great success, and was as good and active in the one 
as with the other. And the times called forth his energies 
in every way. The promised treatise on the Articles, the 
agitation of these years on the subject of Baptism, and 
the presence around him not only of a very strong noncon- 
formist feeling, but of a school of thought within the 


Church coloured by Methodist views as to conversion, — 
all these things greatly stimulated Mr. Browne's activity 
of mind as preacher and author. 

A short time before he moved to Kenwyn in 1 849, the 
Diocese of Exeter, and all England with it, had been 
thrown into much excitement on the subject of Baptism, 
and the limits within which varieties of opinion on the 
subject were to be allowed. Mr. Gorham, Incumbent of 
Sl Just in Penwith, had been presented by the Lord 
Chancellor, in June 1847, ^^ the living of Brampford Speke, 
also in the diocese of Exeter, and the Bishop, hearing 
that Mr. Gorham had warmly defended " Low " views as 
to the spiritual character of Infant Baptism, insisted on 
examining him sharply on the subject of Regeneration 
before granting him institution to his new benefice. He 
accordingly summoned Mr. Gorham, inquired into his 
opinions, declared them unsound, and refused to institute 
him. This was in March, 1848. As it was a Lord 
Chancellor's living, and as Mr. Gorham had fighting 
qualities, the matter was not allowed to rest Mr. Gorham 
had resented this examination by his Bishop, in whose 
diocese he had been working for years ; and now, finding 
himself debarred from preferment, at once began to set 
the Courts in motion. He first applied to the Court of 
Arches for a Monition to compel the Bishop to grant him 
institution. The case was heard in that Court early in 
1848, and Sir Herbert Jenner Fust, sitting as Judge, gave 
judgment in the matter on August 3rd, 1849, upholding 
the Bishop. Thereupon, in the following December, 
Mr. Gorham appealed to Her Majesty in Council ; and 
the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council sat to hear 
the appeal. In this court no Bishop, even though he were 
a member of the Privy Council, could sit, though he might 
be summoned to advise. The Archbishops of Canterbury 


and York and the Bishop of London were assessors in 
this case. The Judicial Committee in the March follow- 
ing reversed Sir H. Jenner Fust's judgment, and ordered 
the Bishop of Exeter to grant Mr. Gorham institution. 
The Bishop obeyed, and Mr. Gorham became Vicar of 
Brampford Speke. The result was hailed with great ex- 
citement and very discordant cries : the Bishop's friends 
and the High Church clergy generally protested against 
the judgment of a bishop on a question of dogmatic 
theology being set aside by a lay court, and did all in 
their power to emphasise the importance of the doctrine 
of Baptismal Regeneration. On the other hand, the Record 
and other Evangelical organs were jubilant at the triumph 
of what they regarded as the anti-sacerdotal cause. Mr. 
Browne, in the earlier stages of the controversy, was at 
Lampeter, and does not seem to have taken an. active part 
in it ; later on, at Kenwyn, he drew up, in grave and 
temperate language, the " Protest of the Clergy of the 
Archdeaconry of Cornwall," addressed to the Archbishop 
of Canterbury. The conclusion of this document is alto- 
gether in Mr. Browne's manner (the rough draft of it is in 
his handwriting). He strongly maintains the doctrine of 
" One Baptism for the remission of sins," declaring that 
"the Church holds and has ever held that every person, 
infant as well as adult, rightly receiving the Sacrament of 
Baptism, is, by virtue of that Sacrament and the grace of 
God received therein, grafted into the Body of Christ's 
Church, made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an 
inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven." And he bases the 
protest on the recorded utterances and usage of the early 
centuries of the Christian Church. 

Professor Rowland Williams, who had no doctrinal 
liking for Mr. Gorham and his views, records his impres- 
sions of the Bishop of St. David's Charge on the subject. 


"On the Gorham question," he writes, "the Bishop 
[Thirlwall] evidently did not adopt Mr. G.'s opinions, but 
seemed to think they were merely Calvinistic (which have 
been held constantly), and that the holder had been rather 
persecuted, as well as that he and his examiner had mis- 
understood each other. The terms, he thinks, ought to 
have been defined or explained." 

The three parties in the Church dealt with the question 
each in its own way : the High denounced the Gorham views 
as heretical ; the Low Church adopted and defended them ; 
the Broad held that, though Mr. Gorham's views were 
probably incorrect, still they were, on general grounds of 
charity and inclusiveness, tenable within the Church of 
England, and that Bishop Philpott's course had been 
somewhat hard and overbearing. The controversy has left 
little trace behind it, the tendency of thought since that 
time not being favourable to dogmatic discussions, and the 
intellectual pleasure in such questions not strong enough to 
tempt men to plunge into such thorny thickets of theological 
strife. On the whole, the views expressed by the Bishop 
of St. David's may be said to have prevailed. Mr. Browne 
had the whole question under review, when he, at this very 
time, was revising his Lecture on the XXVIIth Article. 
It bears little trace of the excitement through which the 
Church had passed. It may be noticed that it re-echoes 
Bishop Thirlwall's complaint that much of the quarrel was 
due to a lack of proper definition of the terms used by 
both sides. And the Article itself upholds the doctrine 
of Baptismal Regeneration in terms so carefully chosen, 
so studiously moderate, that it was felt that here the 
controversy might well be closed. Without attempting to 
reconcile the privileges and powers of the Church as a body 
f)olitic with the rights and duties of the individual Christian, 
the Article recognises both sides, and endeavours to explain 
how they may coexist and work harmoniously for the true 


end, which is the implanting of spiritual life in the human 
soul, to fit men 5 to be active members of the mystical body 
of Christ. 

The subject was still only too hot when Mr. Browne 
settled at Kenwyn. In June 185 1 the Bishop of Exeter 
held a synod, in order to rally his diocese round him in 
support of the doctrine of Regeneration in Baptism. This 
body, composed of the Cathedral Chapter, the chief 
officials of the diocese, and two representatives from each 
Rural Deanery (two deaneries only having declined to 
elect their representatives), met on June 25th, 1851, and 
agreed to a declaration in support of the Bishop's con- 
tention. And from that moment the excitement calmed 
down, leaving the preferments in the English Church open 
to persons of very different views, yet giving great promi- 
nence to the Anglican interpretation of the article " One 
Baptism for the Remission of Sins." 

This "Synod" is also historically a matter of great 
interest, as being the earliest revival of synodical action 
within the English Church in modern times. The stress of 
the controversy had given the diocese a voice; attention 
had been called to the very important subject of the repre- 
sentation of Church opinion in Conferences, Congresses, 
Synods, and Convocation ; and this Exeter " Synod " of 
185 1 gave the tendency a definite form and shape. 

Of this " Synod " Mr. Browne was a member ; and it is 
probable that his attention was now first called to the 
advantage of such meetings of authorised representatives 
of the Church. At any rate, though our materials are not 
so full as to enable us to speak with confidence, it is 
probable that his active intervention in these matters dates 
from this moment. 

This interest in Church matters was due to a variety 
of causes, — due to the revival of religious feeling in the 


country'', due also to the dislike felt to the solution of 
theological, even of doctrinal, questions by lay tribunals ; 
above all, due to the strengthened belief in the organic life 
of the Church as such, which coincided with the revival 
of Anglican doctrine and opinion in the middle of this 
present century. It was felt very widely that the Church 
as such ought to have a voice in her own affairs, and that 
she was not a mere paid servant of the State. In the 
following year, 1852, efforts were made to give the meetings 
of Convocation of the Southern Province a more real 
-character. Though Convocation had been formally sum- 
moned ever since the reign of George I., when its delibera- 
tions were interrupted and forbidden, the meetings had, 
for one hundred and thirty-five years, been the merest 
matter of form. Now, however, the set of opinion was 
so strong that it proved irresistible ; and, after the English 
fashion, without any constitutional change, Convocation 
began once more to be clothed with some form of life. 
Mr. Browne took an active part in influencing opinion. 
He printed and circulated widely a letter in pamphlet 
form, addressed to Mr. Spencer Walpole, at that time 
Home Secretary in Lord Derby's short Administration of 
the summer of 1852. The Home Secretary replied on 
September nth, 1852, with a polite douche of cold water, 
though he plucks up courage to add that he agrees with 
the author in deploring **the religious discord which 
prevails in the Church and threatens to extinguish true 
religion among us. Everything I can do will have for 
its object the restoration, if possible, of religious peace." 
Mr. Gladstone, to whom, as the statesman in Opposition 
most likely to be friendly, Mr. Browne had also trans- 
mitted a copy, sends a more sympathetic reply, though 
he, too, carefully avoids committing himself to any direct 
<ieclaration on the subject. He laments the evil results 


of the suspension of Convocation ; the damage to the souls 
of men ; the great difficulties which beset any attempt to 
revive such an ecclesiastical assembly. 

The Cornish clergy at once turned to Mr. Browne as 
the right man to represent them and to give weight to 
their wishes. Mr. Coope, as representing the county^ 
wrote to him asking him whether he would be willing to 
be put in nomination ; and if so, whether he would write 
him something about his views on the questions of the 

In reply the Vicar of Kenwyn wrote two letters, which 
show with what quiet resolution he faced the difficulties of 
the day, and the risks which surrounded the new experi- 
ment of Convocation restored to life. The regretful 
reference to the old days when Churchmen only could sit 
in Parliament may provoke a smile in these times. 

" Exeter, June 19/A, 1852 

" Rev. and dear Sir,— Your letter has only just 
reached me here. 1 fully recognise your right to ask me 
questions, and I will endeavour to answer them freely and 
candidly. If my brethren choose me as one of their 
representatives in Convocation (an honour which I assure 
you I have made no move towards obtaining, and which 
I view as an anxious responsibility), it is my fullest 
intention, by God's blessing, to attend regularly at the 
meetings of that body. 

" I cannot deny that I look with anxiety to a revival of 
synodal action. Yet after much careful thought I am of 
opinion (especially now the legislature is no longer com- 
posed of at least nominal Churchmen, with the Queen and 
Bishops at their head) it is quite necessary that the Church 
should be permitted to speak in a free Synod. What 
subjects the Synod should at present discuss, I hardly 
know. I wish for no change in our doctrines, which are 
in my belief Catholic, Apostolical, Evangelical. But the 
intermission of synodal action for a hundred and fifty-six 
years has rendered the machinery of the Church wooden, 
and it needs adapting to the wants of the day. Such 


adaptation we cannot accept from Parliament alone. 1 am 
therefore prepared to advocate and support * measures 
calculated to restore an early and effective action to the 
lawful representation of the Church in England.* 

" At the same time my opinion is that all advocacy of 
such measures should be temperate and calm, respectful 
towards * those powers which be, and which are ordained 
of God,' and not calculated needlessly to produce collision 
between Church and State, or disruption of that union, 
which, with all its drawbacks, I believe to be fraught with 
great blessings to the people of this land. 

" I have the honour to be, Rev. and dear Sir, 
" Your faithful Brother, 

" E. H. Browne. 

"Rev. H. J. CooPE." 

And this was followed, a few days later, by the following 
reply to Mr. Coope's second letter : — 

" KENWYN,/««tf 25/A, 1852. 

" My dear Sir,— I am glad to learn that my reply to 
your questions has been satisfactory to you. On such 
general points it was obviously right that the clergy should 
know my sentiments, before they honour me with their 
confidence so far as to nominate me as one of their 
proctors. On matters of detail, no doubt, you would not 
desire me to pledge myself It is almost impossible to 
foresee what questions may arise ; and should you think 
to send me to Convocation as your representative, you 
would not expect me to become merely a delegate or 
mouthpiece. At the same time, I assure you that I am so 
far from feeling confidence in my own judgment that I 
should always thankfully receive guidance and counsel 
from my brethren. 

" I quite agree with what you say about the separation of 
Church and State. We may safely trust that God will 
not let the Church suffer, when she is more than ever 
deprived of all aid but His — if her state of destitution and 
condition as an outcast have not arisen from the rashness 
and self-confidence of her own children. But I would 
not cast oflF her worldly privileges from mere wantonness 
or impetuosity. If the tyranny of the powers of this 
world causes the dissolution of our fellowship, we have no 


cause to fear. We may then * break their bonds asunder 
and cast away their cords from us/ But I still hope 
that such a crisis may not arrive ; and sound Churchmen 
as well as good citizens may, I think, justly labour to 
avert it. 

" I am, dear Sir, 

" Very faithfully yours, 
" E. H. Browne. 
" Rev. H. J. CooPE." 

Mr. Browne was accordingly elected Proctor for Con- 
vocation, and so became a member of that body at the 
moment when it forced the hand of the Upper House, 
by appointing committees, and holding a real session, 
instead of being prorogued immediately after voting the 
formal Address to the Crown. Four years before, an 
amendment to the Address had been moved and passed 
in the Lower House, and had been carried through the 
Upper, praying that Her Majesty would grant her license 
to Convocation to actr and in the interval between 1847 
and 1852 legal advice had been sought, which brought 
out clearly the fact that there was no constitutional bar 
to the revival of Convocation, the law recognising the 
existence of the body, and the only obstacles to renew^ed 
activity being the need of royal assent and license before 
any new canon could be promulged. It also appeared to 
some of the lawyers that the Archbishop had no right 
to prorogue Convocation without consent of his suffragans. 
Encouraged by these legal opinions, when Convocation 
met in November 1852, those desirous to see the revival, 
having agreed beforehand on a course of action, put 
forward a very moderate plea for time. The Bishop of 
Oxford, Wilberforce, moved an amendment to the Arch- 
bishop's draft Address to the Crown, to the effect that 
Convocation was about to appoint Committees to consider 
plans for correction of clergy if they were found to offend 


against the laws ecclesiastical. The Archbishop, perhaps 
influenced by the power and eloquence of the Bishop of 
Oxford, instead of at once proroguing Convocation as 
usual, fixed a day four days later for the resumption of 
the debate. Committees were appointed and sat ; and 
after a protest against prorogation made by the four 
Bishops of Oxford, Salisbury, Chichester, and St David's 
Convocation was prorogued on November 17th, till the 
following February. 

And thus began the new life of this ancient and con- 
stitutional body. 

Of the part played by Professor Browne in these early 
days of Convocation, we catch one or two glimpses in his 
letters. The one of these is a graphic narration of a historic 
scene, the other tells us how from the outset he took 
decided part with the more prudent and cool-headed 
members of the High Church party, in modifying the 
eagerness of the fighting men, more especially of Arch- 
deacon Denison. Nothing could be more charming than 
to read the account of that ancient defender of the faith, 
using the strongest language, condemning all who could 
not see with him to terrific penalties, and then, directly 
the battle was over, meeting his antagonists on most 
friendly and brotherly terms. The following letter to 
Mrs. Harold Browne, dated November 3rd, 1852, bears 
testimony to the spirit in which Convocation worked, and 
to the position taken by Professor Browne in it : — 

" I have been all day at work again. I have regular 
stand-up fights with Archdeacon Denison, which terminate 
in expressions of mutual esteem— so that we do not suffer 
seriously by the encounters. But I think I have succeeded 
in very materially modifying his strong expressions, if I 
have not been able quite to eradicate all that I could wish. 
I have to work almost alone. But my courage has not 
failed me ; and I trust that a higher Power has sustained 


me. I am not so tired to-day as yesterday, and feel very 
well— though I could not bear a very long continuance of 
such discussions as we have had yesterday and to-day. I 
think the greatest troubles have now been got over." 

The closing words of this letter give us a glimpse into 
the motions of a good man's heart : — 

" You must kiss all the chicks, and tell them a little 
about their pappy, and how much he loves them all, and 
that he prays God to bless them all and to make them 
His children. I ought to write to them." 

At the close of this first real session of Convocation, 
the Queen received the Address of the two Houses in 
state. The account of the ceremony is not without a 
certain interest. It is contained in a letter, written many 
years after to Dr. Sumner, Bishop of Guildford, Prolocutor 
of the Lower House, in which the Bishop says : — 

" I am the only living Bishop, almost the only living 
man, who was present when Convocation, awakened from 
the death-sleep of a century and a quarter, presented its 
first Address to the Queen. Your uncle. Archbishop 
Sumner, read it as President 

" When the Address was sent down from the Bishops to 
the Lower House, I ventured to make my first move, and 
was somewhat frightened by my own voice. It seemed to 
me wrong that in a document emanating from the repre- 
sentative assembly of a great Christian Church there 
should be no word which shewed that we belonged to 
Christ; and I moved that the defect should be remedied 
by the insertion of a few words containing the name of 
our Saviour. Deans and Archdeacons whispered en- 
quiringly who the young proctor was that ventured to 
correct the orthodoxy of the united Episcopate ; but they 
adopted my amendment, all the san\e. 

" When we went to Buckingham Palace in considerable 
numbers, we had to wait a weary while in an antechamber. 
Suddenly the doors were thrown open, and I think we had 
the most royal scene I have ever witnessed. At the farther 
end of the presence chamber the Queen was in front of 


her throne, under a grand canopy. The Prince Consort 
and some of the royal children were just behind her. All 
the principal Ministers and great officers of state were on 
the right and left. The Duchess of Sutherland, as Mistress 
of the Robes, was on her right, holding the largest bouquet 
I ever saw. The Gentlemen of the Body Guard in full 
military dress lined the room and formed an avenue for us to 
walk up under glittering chandeliers, etc., etc. I have never 
been so much struck with any royal pageant since. It seems 
to me, looking back now nearly thirty-five years upon it, 
to have been much more striking than the Queen's opening 
of Parliament A royal wedding at St. George's Chapel 
is the only pageant of the kind which has impressed me 
nearly so much. But I was very young to such things 
then, going up from my distant home in Cornwall. I am 
now old and blas^. The Archbishop read the Address and 
presented it The Queen replied sitting. 

" She read with the clearest and most silvery voice, very 
graciously, but with a rather emphatic distinctness, especially 
when she came to the words * My Supremacy/ which she 
spoke significantly and incisively. We made our bows ; 
the Archbishop and the Prolocutor (Dean Peacock) kissed 
hand, and we backed out of the Royal Presence into 
primeval obscurity. Possibly, Archdeacons Harrison and 
Denison were there besides me. I cannot think of any 
other living member of Convocation. So I relate to the 
present Prolocutor what happened under his archiepiscopal 
uncle, when the Queen first spoke, rejoicing that she is 
now speaking again." 

The letter is dated by the reference to " nearly thirty-five 
years ago"; it would be in 1852 that this scene took 

The question is often asked, whether Convocation has 
justified the hopes of its friends, or has been a source of 
danger to the Church, as its opponents foreboded? We 
are perhaps too near the time to be able to form a decided 
judgment on these questions ; and, in truth, the whole 
subject is still somewhat obscure. One thing is certain — 
it has not justified the fears with which good and timid 
Churchmen regarded it ; it may safely be said that the 



influence of Convocation has throughout been conservative 
and conciliatory. Extreme parties have failed to bend 
it to their will ; and the deliberations and acts of the two 
bodies, if narrowed in scope and often lacking in practical 
results, have as a rule been dignified and moderate. That 
Convocation has mainly taken its character from the High 
Church party is obvious : this, however, is only to say 
that the years of the revived activity of the two Houses 
have also been the years of the vigorous advance of that 
party. Considering the legal restrictions under which 
Convocation labours ; considering the great excess of ex 
officio members in the Lower House and the narrow 
limitation of the electorate, by which all clergy engaged, 
in school work, all curates of parishes, all chaplains of 
institutions, are excluded, it is wonderful to see how well 
on the whole Convocation has justified the revival. Many 
reforms in the Church have been carried through Parlia- 
ment in consequence of the representations of Convocation ; 
great opportunities have been provided for the discussion 
of matters affecting the welfare of the Church : above all, 
the minds of men, irritated by the want of some definite 
and recognised deliberative body, have been calmed and 
to some degree satisfied. Diocesan Conferences and the 
Church Congresses have also impressed on the English 
people the fact that the English Church is full of life and 
energy. It has shewn, too, that there is a vast breadth 
of opinion within the Church, temperate and sober, averse 
to pushing matters to extremes, prepared to tolerate a 
good deal of eccentricity or even folly, if it is shewn that 
the foolish or eccentric persons are in earnest and are 
really, after their light, devoting themselves to the practical 
service of Christ and His people. All things considered, 
it is clear that the revival of Convocation, though the body 
suffers greatly from lack of power to enforce its convictions, 


has worked for good to the Church, and has perhaps done 
as much as the deliberative action of a Church wedded 
to the State can ever be expected to do. And were, one 
day, the relation between Church and State to be broken, 
here is the machinery with which our Church cou d 
fashion a more independent life. In these days, in which 
the State is more and more compelled to listen to the 
popular voice, it is all-important that the Church also 
should know what is going on around and within, and 
should not shut herself up in aristocratic indifference. 
The leading party in the Church has come to see that 
the most important religious question of the immediate 
future IS the relation between the Anglican Church and 
the people. By degrees we may even come to take the 
F>eople into our confidence, and listen to them with as 
much courtesy and deference as we exact from them 
when we talk, and as we have been wont to pay to our 
superiors when they talk to us. 

It comes then to this, that Convocation has already done 
a very important work in the revived Church ; and that 
the influence of this chief Parliament of religion in England 
is likely to become far greater in the future ; the decisions 
arrived at will have increasing force, and the moderation 
of tone prevailing there, a moderation which has from 
time to time been tested by unwise and extreme proposals, 
will probably enable it to lessen the disruptive tendencies 
certain to make themselves felt in any crisis of the history 
of the Church of England. The existence also of the 
House of Laymen, a modem innovation, may become a 
guarantee that Convocation will take not a mere clerical 
view of Church affairs, but will feel the weight and im- 
portance of the laity, who after all, did they but know it, 
are the Church. 

These overwhelming activities and interests were enough 


to occupy the energies of the strongest ; and Mr. Browne, 
undertaking his new duties with a weakened frame and a 
courage far beyond his strength, was soon made to feel 
that there were limits to his energies. He had unfortu- 
nately made himself liable to attack by a bad fall at 
Lampeter, which had hurt his spine. A man so tall had 
" too much territory to defend," and his back gave way 
when he had ventured on the extravagance of over-work. 
He had not been long at Kenwyn before, in 1850, a severe 
attack of inflammation of the spine obliged him to take 
to his bed. There he remained for several months. He 
was thrown down, but not defeated ; these months of 
enforced quietude were hailed by hini as a providential 
time of leisure in which to fulfil his promise to the 
Lampeter lads. It is to this Kenwyn illness that we owe 
the completion of the first volume of the work on the 
Thirty-Nine Articles, on which so much of his reputation 
rests. It came about thus. At Lampeter he was bound 
to instruct his pupils in the articles of the Christian faith 
and the formularies of the Church. Now, the Thirty-Nine 
Articles were the obvious text-book for the purpose. 
Their moderation, as an expression of the mind of the 
reformed Church of England, and the way in which they 
cover the whole surface of dogma, discipline, and Church 
order, commended the Articles from every side to Mr. 
Browne's mind, His even-mindedness, his learning, and 
his love of Church antiquity, there found encouragement 
and subjects ready to hand. An inferior teacher, feeling 
the backwardness of the students, and alarmed by the 
breadth and depth of the questions treated in the Articles, 
would no doubt have contented himself with a formal 
discussion of each ; with a good bit of " learning by- 
heart" on the part of the students, and some slight 
historical and other explanation by the teacher, the young 


men would have seemed sufficiently equipped for their 
Ordination examination. But Mr. Browne treated the 
matter far more thoroughly : he handled the Articles as 
living things ; gave the young men much to think about 
got them to store up an acquaintance with theological 
questions, which would come in very handily in their 
public ministry afterwards; and .made his lectures a 
thorough course of divinity. The students, feeling the use- 
fulness of this teaching, met together one day in the latter 
part of 1847, and agreed that they would petition the Vice- 
Principal to publish his lectures as a permanent text-book 
of Theology. Mr. Browne, however, found no means of 
fulfilling his undertaking till after he had left Lampeter. 
The earlier part of the work was forward when he came 
to Kenwyn, though by no means ready for the press. 

It was not till 1850 that the students received their 
copies of the first edition of the earlier portion of the 
work, and read what they had heard with so much profit in 
the Lampeter lecture-room. Archdeacon Hardy gives us a 
touch of the life of the patient worker in this time of his 
physical weakness and suffering. 

" It was felt," he writes, " as a real privilege by his clerical 
brethren to be admitted occasionally to his bedside, to find 
him, surrounded by his books, cheerfully working at his 
Opus Magnum, I recollect one occasion on which I was 
delighted by his asking me to copy out some Greek 
quotations for his forthcoming work. Happily, while this 
task was exercising his mental powers, his bodily strength 
was quietly returning, and at last was fully restored. I 
think he attributed the loss of bodily power to his having 
over-exerted himself when * stroke * of the Emmanuel boat 
at Cambridge. However this might be, our Church has 
reason to be thankful for the repose thus given to him in 
mature life, to her permanent gain.*' 

The work thus brought into being was received at once 
with much applause on every hand. The first volume 


carried the exposition as far as the fifteenth Article ; and 
after the lapse of three busy years the remainder of the 
work made its appearance, and met with a similar reception 
from students of Church doctrine and institutions. It was 
felt on all sides that never before had the character and 
claims of the English Church been set out so clearly, and 
with so little to offend : men hailed the author as the 
upholder of a moderate and conservative High Church 
position. It was perfectly true, as the "Guide-Book to 
Books " puts it, that here we have, " not a classic, but the 
fullest book of the kind available." For lectures, commen- 
taries, expositions, cannot aim at being " c assies " ; their 
business is on another level. The question really is, whether 
the book before us, being intended to explain the body of 
Divinity of the English Church, does it in such a way as 
to clear off difficulties, elucidate the propositions laid down, 
steer a good course between conflicting opinions, and make 
the doctrine and discipline of the Church easier to Church- 
men. The qualities required for such a work are soundness 
of knowledge, especially in the whole sphere of the growth 
of dogma and institutions, honesty and truthfulness of 
spirit in dealing with the abstruse questions involved, the 
rare gift of exposition, an orderly power of arrangement, 
a charitable construction of other men's opinions, a genuine 
belief in the truth of the main principles of the Christian 
religion ; also a true sense of proportion, to balance between 
things more or less essential and important ; and lastly 
a pleasant style, bright without being poetical, simple yet 
not bald. Now, in the main, Mr. Browne's Exposition of 
the Thirty-Nine Articles possessed these important practical 
qualities. We feel that we are dealing with a very honest 
person ; he is devoted to the Church of which he under- 
takes to explain the theology and structure ; his convic- 
tions, however strong, do not degenerate into partisanship ; 


the middle position of the Anglican Church delights 
him ; the views and opinions of those who hold a more 
extreme position aflfect him little ; he makes all allow- 
ance he can, and realises that even a Church must have 
room to swing. Above all, while he does not enter 
sympathetically into the views of those opposed to him, 
he treats all with a rare courtesy, and shews such charity 
and moderation that the best of his opponents are won 
to him even while they protest against his opinions. 

The best account of the object of the work may perhaps 
be found in the simple and straightforward words of the 
introduction : — 

"In the following pages an attempt is made to interpret 
and explain the Articles of the Church, which bind the 
consciences of her clergy, according to their natural and 
genuine meaning ; and to prove that meaning to be both 
scriptural and catholic. None can feel so satisfied, nor 
act so straightforwardly, as those who subscribe them in 
such a sense. But if we consider how much variety of 
sentiment may prevail amongst persons, who are, in the 
main, sound in the faith, we can never wish that a National 
Church, which ought to have all the marks of catholicity, 
should enforce too rigid and uniform an interpretation of 
its formularies and terms of union. The Church should 
be not only Holy and Apostolic, but, as well, One and 
Catholic. Unity and universality are scarcely attainable 
where a greater rigour of subscription is required than 
such as shall ensure an adherence and conformity to those 
great catholic truths, which the primitive Christians lived 
by, and died for." 

Bishop Thirlwall, to whom Mr. Browne had dedicated 
the work, "in affectionate gratitude for unsought and 
unexpected kindness, and with deep respect for profound 
intellect and high Christian integrity," replied at once, to 
the receipt of the first volume : — 

" Abergwil', Carmarthen, 30/A September^ 1850. 
" Mv DEAR Sir, — On my return last Saturday from the 


consecration of a church near Swansea, I found the first 
volume of your Exposition of the Articles. I shall ever 
value it exceedingly as a memorial of the relation which 
existed between us, though I am quite ashamed of being 
spoken of as your kindness has dictated in the Dedication. 
I must however add that I have been very much pleased 
with the plan and the execution of the work, so far as I 
could judge of it from the exposition of the first Article, 
which is all I have yet read ; and I believe that, especially 
in this diocese, it may very advantageously supersede the 

best books hitherto used on the subject 

" Yours faithfully, 

" C. St. David's. 

" Rev. E. Harold Browne." 

The Dean of Exeter fully appreciates the via nudia 
quality of the work, for he speaks of the want long 

" felt by those who know how necessary it is that the candi- 
date for Ordination in our Church should be thoroughly 
grounded in the principles of dogmatic theology. With- 
out this, some will be starting aside after the way of 
Gorham, others will take shelter in Romish infallibility, 
and still more, perhaps, will be captivated with Bunsen's 
Church of the future, or the Pantheism of Spinoza." 

And after the receipt of the second volume in April 
1853, Dean Lowe writes again. After referring to a slight 
grammatical error, he proceeds : — 

" And now, having pointed out the only microscopic 
blemish I can discover in your work, let me assure you 
that I admire it as cordially as people are apt to admire 
whatever entirely agrees with their own sentiments and 
opinions, and places them in the most advantageous light 
In its lucid arrangement, its copiousness of illustration, 
its clear and candid statements of conflicting opinion, and 
the sound and impartial judgment with which those 
opinions are weighed, it cannot fail to be of the highest 
value to the theological student, and I most heartily wish 
that all who peruse it may imbibe at least a portion of the 
truly Christian spirit in which it is written." 


I am tempted to add a testimony of a very different 
kind The Rev. W. A. Hales, of St John's, Hey wood j 
near Manchester, who in his day had attended the Norrisian 
Professor's lectures at Cambridge, says : — 

"There is a very humble tradesman in this town, in 
whose sitting-room I was surprised and delighted to find 
your work on the Thirty-Nine Articles. I was still more 
surprised to find that it had been most carefully read and 
annotated. Conversation with the man proved that the 
book had been, through God's mercy, a guide to him and 
a friend. It helped to lead him, he says, to the truth, and 
it helps to keep him rooted and grounded in it." 

Two little touches, shewing the influence of the work 
in later days, shall close the subject 

" I was being shewn," says a friend of the Bishop, " over 
Birmingham Barracks, and was taken to see a school for 
soldiers* children. The master examined before me in the 
Catechism ; and on * secondly, that I should believe all 
the Articles of the Christian faith,' asked a boy, * And how 
many Articles of the Christian faith are there?' And 
when the lad naturally hesitated, he added, * Why, thirty- 
nine of course,' ... no doubt an answer made in petto by 
nine-tenths of the candidates for Orders after reading their 
Harold Browne." 

The other story has, I think, never seen the light ; I had 
it direct from the late Bishop McDougall. One day many 
years ago, soon after his return to England from Labuan, 
the Bishop dropped in on his old friend and tutor Jacobson, 
then Bishop of Chester. The Bishop was just setting out 
for Convocation ; and Bishop McDougall went in with 
him, and sat down for a few minutes to watch the assem- 
bling of the prelates. Presently, in came the Bishop of 
Ely, and sitting down on a low seat stretched out his long 
legs far across the chamber. " I say, Bishop, whose are 
those tremendous long shanks?" "Don't you know?" 


Bishop Jacobson replied, in his deep, gruff voice. " Why, 
those are Harold Browne's Articles." And that was the 
first time Bishop McDougall saw the man who afterwards 
became his firmest and most affectionate friend. 

In addition to this chief work on the Articles of religion, 
Mr. Browne, during his stay at Kenwyn, published several 
lesser pieces, which all bear witness to his energy, and to 
the zeal with which he advocated the healthy develop- 
ment of the Church. Some of these publications were 
sermons: thus, in May 1851 he preached an excellent 
discourse on " The gifts of the Ascended Saviour," at the 
triennial visitation of the Bishop of Exeter, held in St 
Mary's parish church, Truro ; then, a few months later, 
appeared three sermons, preached in Kenwyn church, in 
which can be traced very clearly the effect of that " Papal 
Aggression " which caused so great a turmoil in England 
in 1851. All Protestant bodies were alarmed, regarding 
it as a sign of confidence on the part of the Roman Church ; 
and Churchmen were especially disturbed, because it carried 
the war into their midst, by the appointment of Roman 
bishops in some of the ancient dioceses. This, of course, 
was on one side the aim and point of it, being the Vatican's 
way of saying that it refused to recognise the episcopate 
of the Church of England, and in its lordly way treated 
the Anglican dioceses as non-existent. Mr. Browne felt, 
with the whole body of High Churchmen, that here was 
a distinct challenge, and he accused the Roman Church 
of schism ; his sermon is a warm appeal to all English 
people to rally to the Anglican Church, and to abandon 
extremes ; if all England had been united, the " Papal 
Aggression " would never have been attempted ; it is the 
rift of our unhappy divisions which enables the foreign 
power to make a lodgment in our midst. He does not 
pay much heed to the down-trampling of the British 


Church by the emissaries of Rome in the sixth century, 
but holds that we, as the successors of the Church esta- 
blished by St. Augustine of Canterbury, have ever held to 
the faith, while Rome, whence he came, has drifted far 
away from the standpoint of those times. Very bitter to 
the preacher was the action of the "Bishop of Rome," 
who had 

" denied the very existence of our Church ; had put 
bishops of his own making into the dioceses of the English 
bishops ; and by parcelling out the land into new divisions, 
and creating new titles in it, has usurped the authority of 
our Queen, as well as treating our Church and our fellow 
Christians as heathens, and our bishops and clergy as 

Churchmen have since then become accustomed to the 
sight of Roman prelates, and recognise and respect them 
as representative heads of the Roman Obedience. It is 
bad, no doubt, to find so good and ancient a theory as that 
of one Bishop in one diocese unequal to the necessities 
of Christian life in our day ; yet still it is so : and, after all, 
the more vivid our faith in Christ, the more tolerant we 
shall grow towards those who do not see things as we do. 
Mr. Browne, at the close of this sermon, places the matter 
on much higher ground ; for Christ hath made us free, and 
we can therefore look without fear on the efforts made to 
enthral mankind or to turn it from the open Book. 

The second sermon is on Antichrist, a subject which 
had great fascination for the Bishop ; he chose it a second 
time in his old age, in 1883, when he preached at the 
opening of the Reading Church Congress. The third 
sermon, " On the Prospects of the New Year,'' is also 
tinged by the influence of the so-called " Papal Aggression." 
It is rather a sad review of the past than an attempt to 
look bravely into the future ; it is perhaps most notable for 


the closing sentence, which, coming from so warm and 
sincere a defender of the Anglican Established Church, 
proves that Mr. would never have associated himself 
with the extravagant language now popular respecting 
the temporalities of the Church. " Once let the Church of 
England fall, — I do not mean the Church Establishment, 
that is but the shell of which the Church is the kernel and 
the truth, — once let the Church, founded by apostles and 
reformed by martyrs, cease to be the Church of the people 
and their affections ; and be sure that Romanism or 
unbelief will soon be the only choice that you will 

There was yet another sermon published in this year, 
one preached at Kenwyn on November 23rd, 1851, on 
" Religious Excitement," which was a grave protest against 
the *' Aitkenite " movement, shewing how an earnest and 
careful parish priest in those parts should deal with the 
revivalist excitements of the Celtic population* 

The Rev. F. C. Jackson was at this time one of the 
Kenwyn curates, and he describes in a characteristic letter 
the different impressions left on different minds by Mr. 
Aitken's preaching at this time. 

" I remember," he writes, " the Aitkenite movement very 
well indeed, and the effect it had upon Haslem, who spoke 
to me about the impression old Aitken had upon him, 
especially in a sermon he preached at Baldhu in a service 
at which I helped The sermon was on Gen. xxviii. 18 
(Jacob's lie to his father) ; but the more it attracted Haslem 
the more it repelled me. I remember how I felt that 
Aitken had simply been converted to the Brianite faith ; 
and the noise of his deep discordant voice eminently fitted 
him for the line he had taken up. The singular tempera- 
ment of Haslem yielded to the bowlings of a man whose 
sacred position and years gave weight to a doctrine which 
all around him in the hands of the Brianite preachers was 


" I had much conversation with Haslem after this ; he 
wanted me to join him in his convictions, but I could not. 
. , . It all grieved Harold Browne : many and many a 
serious talk we had together, and I found comfort in the 
decided way in which he expressed views which were similar, 
though less defined, in me." 

The " Brianite " (or " Bryanite ") preachers were nearly 
identical with the " Bible Christians " ; they split off from 
the Cornish Methodists, under the leadership of Mr. 
William O'Bryan, a local Wesleyan preacher. This gentle- 
man in 181 5 severed himself from the Wesleyan body 
without any real difference of doctrine, and was followed 
by a crowd of simple people, eager to live according to 
the principles of the most primitive Christianity, as they 
conceived it to be portrayed for them in the pages of the 
Bible. They have at the present day a large number of 
chapels in Devon and Cornwall. 

The second volume of Mr, Browne's work on the Articles 
was at the time engaging much of his time and thoughts. 
No wonder it gave him some anxiety ; no wonder wc feel 
that a prayerful spirit was on him all the time, to keep 
him from extremes and to " guide " him (for so his petition 
ever ran) " into all truth." This second volume, which 
appeared from J. W. Parker's press in 1853, contained 
all the Articles on the Sacraments ; the subject which had 
so lately filled the Western world with excitement. His 
treatment of this side of the Church's system of Divinity, 
a branch difficult and thorny in theory, and infinitely 
simple by God's blessing in practice, is a judicious 
exposition of the Anglican middle view on the subject. 
The late controversy on Infant Baptism leaves no trace on 
the fair and dispassionate surface of his treatment of the 
Regeneration question ; he takes the Bishop of Exeter's 
side, but so temperately and simply that his views were 


generally accepted. This standard work on the English 
" Confession " of the sixteenth century, on Anglican 
dogmatic theology, and on the structure of Church order, 
has won for itself, in spite of the disfavour into which the 
study of doctrine has unfortunately fallen, a position which 
seems likely to be permanent. It marks the standing- 
ground of High Church theolog>' in England from the 
sixteenth century down to the present day. We do not 
now deal with the intellectual problems of dogma with 
that keenness and vigour with which they were handled 
in the days of the Reformation. In those times the whole 
energies of theological feeling were thrown into the great 
contests which raged round doctrine and Church order; 
and the resultant bodies of divinity which emerged on 
every hand bear witness to the struggles and the enthu- 
siasms of the day. The Augsburg Confession of the 
Lutherans began it ; John Calvin was not far behind with 
the " Institutes of the Christian Religion " ; the Scots, 
with their hard-headed intellectual temper, quickly framed 
their " Confession of Faith " and " Book of Discipline " ; 
the English Reformers put out the Thirty-Nine Articles ; 
and lastly, the Church of Rome responded to the general 
movement towards Dogmatic Theology by the issue 
of the Tridentine Decrees. Perhaps, when the English 
Church reaches the critical moment of a reaction from the 
sensuous tendencies of the day — themselves a reaction 
from the indifferent dulness of official religion earlier in 
the century — the masculine study of dogmatic theology 
may revive again, and once more be regarded as a 
thing worthy of the study of the best intellects. We 
may then wed the womanly side, as one may say, of 
religion, the exercise of cultivated taste, the consciousness 
of life in the family of the Church, the appeal to the 
feelings and aspirations of frail humanity, with the rhore 


robust and systematised theology which by historic de- 
velopment has slowly been framed out of the glimpses 
given us in Holy Scripture. We may then be able to 
enjoy to the full the ripeness of religious life in which 
the spirit of the Lord will give light to all the dogmas 
and ordinances of the faith, and letter and spirit will no 
longer stand in sharp contrast We can imagine that in 
such a time Harold Browne's work on the Thirty-Nine 
Articles will surely have a fresh time of favour ; and 
people will see in the learning, the charitable spirit, and 
moderation of it, a true picture of the position occupied 
by the English Church. 

The structure of the Methodist bodies, which came at 
this time much under Mr. Browne's notice, and the pressure 
of the large area and population of his parishes, set his 
active and constructive mind in motion in the direction, 
which he ever afterwards followed, of seeing how far, and 
under what limitations, the help of active Christian laymen 
could be secured for the Church. In 1854 he read before 
the Ruridecanal Chapter of Powder a paper on '* Thoughts 
on an Extension of the Diaconate and on Lay Agency," 
which was printed by request of the members of that 
Deanery. The paper opens with a friendly recognition 
of the good work done by the Wesleyan body, though he 
seems, by an odd inversion, to attribute to their activity the 
result that "nothing like the same proportion of our 
(Cornish) population attend a place of worship now, when 
compared with those who frequented their parish church 
a century ago." There is a striking and tolerant passage 
in this valuable pamphlet, which ought to be quoted as 
shewing with how broad a view Mr. Browne regarded the 
limits of opinion. " I would rather," he says, " see a certain 
amount of error (not fatal or fundamental) in the Church, 
than see every one who cannot correctly pronounce all our 


shibboleths cast out." And the paper shews also that his 
mind was already much set on the revival of synodal 
action in the English Church " as a means whereby whole- 
some reforms might be safely brought into our polity." 
The pamphlet is a very strong condemnation of the 
surtout point de zele attitude often too common in the 
clerical world. 

Mr. Browne had only been at Kenwyn for three years 
when disturbing influences began. Some time in 1853 there 
seems to have been a wish that he should become a 
candidate for the Hebrew Professorship at Cambridge ; of 
this, however, nothing came ; in the same August he was 
in touch with two men who afterwards were causes of 
much anxiety to him. On August 25th, 1853, he received 
a letter from Bishop Gray, of Cape Town, asking him to 
suggest the name of some person suitable to be nominated 
for the new Bishopric of Graham's Town ; the Bishop 
would have been only too glad had Mr. Browne responded, 
" Here am I ; take me." 

Writing about it many years later, he definitely says 
that it was so. 

"Graham's Town was virtually offered to me before 
Armstrong took it. I was obliged to decline it. I myself 
was very ill at the time, and I had a dear child paralysed 
and full of suffering, whom I could not have taken and 
could not have left." 

He had given himself to work in England and could not 
leave his invalid daughter, and so he passed the matter 
by. After a short delay the Bishop of Cape Town's choice 
fell on Mr. Armstrong, who, together with a man destined 
to create hereafter a great excitement in the Church, 
Mr. Colenso, was consecrated Bishop in this year. 

Mr. Colenso had been an active Incumbent in the 
diocese of Norwich, a moderate High Churchman, zealous 



in the cause of Missions ; it was in consequence of the 
advice of friends on the Board of the Society for the 
Propagation of the Gospel, and other stout Churchmen, 
that Bishop Gray nominated him to the Duke of Newcastle 
and the Primate, and he was consecrated Bishop of Natal. 
Who can say what might have happened had Mr. Browne 
been his colleague and neighbour in the work ? One thing 
is certain, they would both have been the zealous friends 
and champions of the native races, and the unpleasant strife 
of later years, which brought no credit to any one, might 
possibly have been avoided. 




1853— 1863. 




IN November .1853 Mr. Browne became a candidate for 
the Norrisian Professorship at Cambridge. This office, 
one of the chief theological posts in that University, used 
to be filled by a very curious method of selection, the like 
of which could hardly be found elsewhere. Candidates 
had to send in their names to the " Three Stewards," the 
Master of Trinity, the Provost of King's, and the Master 
of Corpus, who selected two, whose names they submitted 
to the Heads of Houses. Mr. Browne's application, 
addressed to the Master of Trinity, runs as follows : — 

*' November 24thi 1853. 

" My opinions are, I believe, in simple accordance with 
the doctrines of the Church of England ; and I trust they 
are consistent with the most entire charity to all who 
dissent from her. Whilst I do not acknowledge anything 
like latitudinarianism, I lay claim to large religious sympa- 
thies, and therefore have a peculiar dislike to exclusive 

He then goes on to urge that the fact of his being a parish 
clergyman should be in his favour, and ends by frankly 
admitting and deploring the idleness which had hindered 
his undergraduate success. On January 24th, 1854, Dr. 
Archdall, Master of Emmanuel, wrote to tell him that 
he and the Rev. C. Hardwick, Fellow of St. Catherine's 



Hall, had been selected. At their next meeting the 
Heads proceeded to the election, and out of twelve present 
ten voted for Mr. Browne, who was thereon declared to 
be duly elected Norrisian Professor of Divinity, and was 
admitted to the office on May 6th following. 

" Everybody speaks of it," he writes on the day of his 
admission, " as a most important and influential office ; 
but all speak of it too as very hard work ; and alas ! at 
first we shall be much the poorer for it . . . Professor Blunt 
says that the society at Cambridge is particularly pleasant, 
remarkably easy, and with very few people who talk to 
shine, though so many who can shine if they aim at doing 
so. May God in His goodness bless this new change 
in our prospects and duties to them and to us, here and 
hereafter, for our blessed Saviour's sake." 

He appears to have been allowed to retain his old rooms 
in College ; for a little later (April 27th, 1854) we find 
him writing to his wife : " I have been obliged to leave my 
rooms in College, which recalled my boyish days, and if 
I had stayed long in them I should have become a foolish 
boy again in my old age. There was some danger of my 
appearing in a straw hat and a round jacket, and going 
down to the river to take the stroke oar in the boat" 

His lectures began in the October Term of 1854- "I 
gave my first lecture to-day. I felt very nervous at first 
lecturing, the more so as I found my lecture was not 
half long enough for the hour. However, I concluded 
by an extempore lecture, and so got through the hour 
pretty well." And speaking of the effort of beginning this 
new life of teaching he says, a few days later : " I can do 
twice as much here as I can at Kenwyn ; for I am sure 
I should be half dead by this time if I had worked there 
as I have done here for the last fortnight." 

The interests and excitements of the University town 
had acted as a tonic on his delicate frame. " I have invita- 


dons: to dinner six deep," he writes, " which is dreadful. 
You may guess, however, that I am not seriously hurt by 
eating or writing yet ; for I walked a round to-day which 
I am told is six miles ; I suppose in Cornwall I could not 
do more than half, though I trust my powers of locomotion 
are returning a little." And other work came swiftly to 
him. He was made Examiner, which involved very much 
labour ; and the University Press consulted him as to the 
publication of books. Thus he writes (February 29th, 
1856) : " I have a deal of work on hand just now, having 
to read a MS. book of Mr. Scrivener's, a collation of several 
Greek MSS., to see whether the University Press should 
print it. Besides, I have lots to do on my own account" 

After a very short time the Professor was joined by 
his wife and family, and occupied a comfortable house, 
" Newnham Cottage," at the back of the Colleges. It was 
divided from the grounds of King's and Queens' Colleges 
by the Cam. A little wicket opening into an arched way 
led to the house door. A garden gave room for the boys 
to play boy-cricket, and enabled them to blow off their 
redundant spirits while their father worked within. In 
those days there were very few ladies at either University, 
only Heads of Houses and a few Professors being married ; 
and here and there, a wonder to see, a stripling daughter 
growing up to womanhood. Dinners, except at the houses 
of Heads, were very rare ; and to these only a select 
few were bidden. The rest of the narrow University 
public were entertained in large evening parties. Professor 
Thomson used to say that "the Heads were asked to 
dinner and the Brains to tea." Mrs. Harold Browne, in her 
Diary for 1856, in which she jotted down some of the 
bright impressions of those days, thus describes the life of 
Cambridge : — 

''Our first dinner-party was at Trinity Lodge, when 


Whewell was Master — and such a Master! He towered 
over all in mind and body; he had a fine large leonine 
head, with grizzly hair and shaggy eyebrows ; not one 
good feature, but eyes which seemed to look into every- 
thing and everybody ; and when he spoke he sparkled all 
over, and no one could think him plain. We met there 
Trench, then Dean of Westminster, with his wife and 
beautiful daughter. Whewell sat in the middle of his table 
with Trench opposite, and they talked for the good of the 
public on poetry, etc. I sat next to the Master of Downing, 
who was most agreeable, having a constant flow of con- 
versation, but I could hear WhewelFs hailstones over all 
the patter. . . . Perhaps the most delightful companion 
of all was dear Professor Sedgwick, one of my father's 
oldest friends. We often had tea with him in his rooms at 
Trinity. On one of these occasions he was most entertain- 
ing ; he knew Sir Walter Scott very well, and said that 
when * Old Mortality ' came out he was so much delighted 
with it that he was obliged to take off his coat and jump 
over the chairs to get off a little of his animal spirits ; and 
then he sat down and read again. He thought Scott's 
best novel was * Guy Mannering/ He was with Basil Hall 
when he (Hall) bought the MS. of the ' Antiquary ' for 
£yy, much under its value. Sir Walter told him that he 
thought the * Antiquary ' his best novel ; and on Basil Hall 
asking him, he wrote this opinion and his reasons for 
thinking so on a flyleaf of the MS., so making it doubly 
valuable. Sedgwick and Sir Roderick Murchison were 
travelling abroad, and on reaching a village on the borders 
of Hungary fell into talk with the village schoolmaster, 
partly in Latin, partly in Italian. The schoolmaster, 
finding that they came from England, asked whether they 
knew Sir Walter Scott, and on their saying that he was 
a great friend of theirs the little man threw up his arms 
in ecstasy, crying out, * Thank God, I have seen two men 
who know Sir Walter Scott ! ' " 

And she adds : — 

" There is a learned look even in the buildings ; the 
streets and dwelling-houses not being very fine rather 
adds to this effect. The College and University buildings 
look like Hebrew and Greek characters among common 
printed letters. Then, the passers-by in the streets are half 
of them robed figures, with the square cap on their heads. 


looking as if more learning was hidden by those folds and 
that becoming head-dress than could be possible under 
a swallow-tailed coat and a high-crowned hat Then you 
constantly hear sweet-toned bells calling to prayer or to 
lectures, or at five o'clock to what makes many run still 
faster — to their respective College dinners. At this time 
you see great numbers of undergraduates in their gay 
costumes coming from boating or cricket, from two to four 
being the usual hour for exercise, when all rush into the air 
the moment their morning's work is over. The older men 
take their constitutional to Trumpington or to Granchester, 
or to the Observatory. Good causeways being on all these 
roads, they only have to walk straight along, without the 
trouble of thinking where they are going, which allows them 
to ruminate on the walks of science, or to talk Theology^ 
or discuss University Reform with some kindred spirit." 

Mr. Browne now thought it right to proceed to his 
degrees in Divinity, and on March 14th, 1855, took his 
B.D. Very shortly after, Professor Blunt, who had been 
a warm friend to his young colleague, died, and the im - 
portant Lady Margaret Professorship, an office said to be 
the richest in the University, being worth quite ;£^iSoo a 
year, became vacant. The death of Professor Blunt, " one 
of the most honoured and lamented of the members of our 
Church and University," was a serious loss to the cause of 
learned and moderate Churchmanship ; and great was the 
anxiety and speculation as to who would succeed him in 
this high office. College interests and theological pre- 
dilections clashed mightily ; and the struggle for the post 
aroused unwonted interest. 

The election, which followed on June 29th, 1855, was in 
some respects one of the strangest that had ever taken 
place. In the first place, the candidature of Professor 
Browne was a revolt on the part of the University against 
the theological dominance of St. John's College. In former 
days, and perhaps even to present times, the rest of the 
University groaned not a little under the great weight of 


Trinity ; for that College, thanks to overwhelming numbers, 
was able to exert preponderant influence in most elections. 
On the other hand, for those theological posts for which 
graduates in Divinity alone voted, St. John's, which had 
a far larger list of B.D. and D.D. members than any 
other College, perhaps than all other Colleges combined, 
had long held possession of the Lady Margaret Chair; 
so much so that the last seven Professors had all been 

There were originally six candidates for the Professor- 
ship ; of these three withdrew, leaving in the field William 
Selwyn of St. John's, Henry John Rose, also of St John's, 
and Professor Browne. It will be seen that the weight of 
St. John's was somewhat diminished by a party split ; the 
effect of theological differences thus telling, though not 
fatally, on the voting-power of the College. 

The election on June 29th was preceded by a notice 
from the Vice-Chancellor, Mr. Guest, Master of Caius 
College, to the effect that "no elector who is not present 
at the commencement of the proceedings, to hear the 
requisite documents read; and to take the prescribed oath, 
will be entitled to vote." Among these "requisite docu- 
ments " was a Deed of Foundation of 1 502 w hich regulated 
the process of voting, laying it down that votes should be 
taken man by man, beginning with the junior B.D., and so 
upward by seniority to the oldest D.D. there present 
After the oath had been duly administered to all the quali- 
fied voters, a hundred and four in number, and while the 
Vice-Chancellor was consulting with his assessors (the 
Senior B.D. and the Senior D.D.) as to procedure, the 
Registrary of the University began to call the names of 
the B.D.'s, from the junior onwards. He had before him 
the books requisite for determining the standing of the 
electors, and began in accordance with the Deed of 


Foundation. As, however, there was considerable delay, 
and the process appeared likely to be slow, a large number 
-of the electors went up to the Registrary's table to ask that 
votes might be taken in any order ; the Vice-Chancellor 
on being appealed to refused to be interfered with ; he 
says in a letter written afterwards, " As we had not yet 
considered the clause which refers to the order of voting, 
and as the whole proceeding was in my opinion an inde- 
corous one, I would not allow our consultation to be 
interrupted, and refused at that time to listen to them." 
Hereon, the Master of Trinity naturally understanding 
from this that the voting would take long, went out of the 
Senate House so as not to waste time. Almost directly 
after this, the electors having again appealed to the Vice- 
Chancellor, he yielded, and the process of voting was 
<:hanged. The voting papers were all speedily handed in, 
and on being counted, shewed the following result : — 

Selwyn 43 

Browne 43 

Rose 17 

Whereupon, without delay, the Vice-Chancellor gave a 
•casting vote for Mr. Selwyn, and declared him duly elected. 
No sooner was this done than Dr. Whewell returned in 
hot haste to the Senate House, and with no small indig- 
nation filled up his voting paper in favour of Mr. Browne 
and tendered it to the Vice-Chancellor, who had not yet 
retired. Mr. Guest, however, refused to receive or record 
it, on the ground that the proceedings were closed. So 
ended this singular election, " under which," as the angry 
Cornwall Gazette of July 6th, 1855, boldly says, "by the 
conduct, certainly irregular, and probably illegal, of the 
Vice-Chancellor, the vote of the Master of Trinity was 
Jost." Had the case gone into the law courts, it is probable 


that the Master of Trinity would have been upheld, and 
either the result reversed or a new election ordered. 
That the presiding officer should change the order of 
proceedings in the middle of an election was a very 
strong measure ; that no hour was fixed for the close 
of the poll was a singular omission ; but that after this 
the Vice-Chancellor, not being an elector, being neither 
D.D. nor B.D., nor even in holy orders, should have given 
a casting vote, so deciding the election, seems a most 
dubious course of action. Scrupulous care ought to have 
been taken that no advantage should be gained from 
a surprise ; and on behalf of the rights of an elector 
who had fully qualified to vote, and yet was excluded 
because he had chanced to be absent at the undefined 
moment at which the votes were taken, one would have 
thought that the Vice-Chancellor would at least have 
given a long breathing-time before declaring the election. 
The view always taken by law-courts, that they are the 
protectors of threatened or neglected rights, would, had 
the case been taken up for judicial decision, have been 
much in favour of Dr. .Whewell's claim. In the corre- 
spondence which ensued, the Vice-Chancellor's letters 
addressed to Professor Browne are hard and cold, as of a 
man who felt himself in a difficult position, and yet was 
determined to defend himself against all attacks. They 
contrast strongly with the charming spirit which runs 
through all the letters of the aggrieved and hardly- 
treated candidate. 

Dr. Whewell, a few days after the untoward event of the 
election, wrote Mr. Browne the following letter : — 

" Lowestoft, July ^th, 1857. 

"My dear Sir, — I will not deny myself the pleasure 
of telling you that your letter gave me great pleasure. I 
had thought that everybody, and you in particular, must 


have judged me unpardonably stupid and impatient, to 
miss voting as I did It ought not to have occurred, for I 
was violating a rule which I received from high authority 
and intended to observe. When the Duke of Wellington 
came to the Installation of the Chancellor (the Duke of 
Northumberland, I think), he arrived at my Lodge, and 
insisted upon going immediately to where the Chancellor 
was ; saying, * I must be upon the spot. Nothing like 
being upon the spot I came to do honour to the Duke, 
and must be on the spot' I came from Lowestoft to vote 
for you, and ought to have been on the spot. 

" I do not cease to regret that you missed a situation 
which I think it was much to the advantage of the Univer- 
sity that you should have had. 

" Believe me, my dear Sir, 

" Yours most truly, 

"W. Whewell." 

There were two really satisfactory results of this strange 
election ; the one, the admirable letter addressed by 
Professor Browne to the Cornish Gazette^ in reply to their 
account of the proceedings ; and the other, the real friend- 
ship and mutual respect which the successful and unsuc- 
cessful candidates ever after felt for each other. 

The letter to the Cornish newspaper is so charming an 
example of the fairness of spirit which characterised the 
late Bishop, that it is here given in full : — 

" To the Editor of the * Royal Cornish Gazette' 

*^K^rivnri,July <)th^ 1855. 

" My dear Sir, — I should not think of troubling you 
with a letter concerning my own affairs, but that, in the 
notice you took in your last paper of the election for the 
Margaret Professorship at Cambridge, I fear you may, in 
your kindness to me, have conveyed to others an unfavour- 
able impression of a gentleman for whom I entertain a 
sincere respect. This impression, I shall be glad, if you 
will allow me, to rectify. 

" It is perfectly true that the Vice-Chancellor gave 
notice that the voting should proceed in one way, and 
afterwards, finding that way tedious, altered it to another. 


It is also true that I thereby lost the vote of Dr. Whewell, 
the Master of Trinity, and so lost the election ; for Dr. 
Whewell was not aware that the plan of voting had been 
altered. Moreover it is true that this proceeding was 
irregular and probably illegal. 

But I am quite sure that the Vice-Chancellor had no 
notion that, by making the alteration, he was doing anything 
which would be unfavourable to either candidate. He no 
doubt supposed that no voter had left the Senate House, in 
which case the change in the proceedings would have been 
of no consequence. I think, I may almost say, it would 
have been a relief to him if the Master of Trinity had voted. 

" Mr. Guest's change of plan and finally his casting vote 
were certainly disastrous to me ; but there is no man in 
the University whom I believe to be more conscientious in 
the discharge of the duties of his office, or less likely to be 
capable of an electioneering trick. Being a layman, he 
would have had no vote but that he happened to be Vice- 
Chancellor. In the first instance he did not vote at all, 
leaving the election in the hands of the D.D.'s and B.D.*s, 
to whom the Lady Margaret had generally confided it. 
Owing to Dr. Whewell's temporary absence, the members 
of the Theological faculty divided equally, forty-three for 
Canon Selywn and forty-three for me. Then of necessity, 
and as I believe reluctantly, Mr. Guest exercised his casting 
vote ; and I can have no reason to complain that he gave 
it in favour of one so highly distinguished, and so generally 
respected and beloved, as the present Margaret Professor 
of Divinity. It was certainly a disappointment to find 
that a majority of the Theological faculty originally 
present and sworn were favourable to me, and that a 
layman's casting vote decided against me. But I have 
never once imagined that any person concerned in this 
election acted otherwise than honourably, and to the best 
of his judgment. 

" Thanking you for the undeserved terms of praise in 
which you speak of me, 

" I am, dear Sir, 

" Very faithfully yours, 

" E. Harold Browne." 

No sooner was this difficult matter of the election settled 
than Professor Selwyn approached Professor Browne with 


the most honourable proposals. Sehvyn was well off, and 
had no incumbrances ; while Mr. Browne had a large and 
growing family and no very plentiful private means ; his 
Norrisian Professorship was but poorly endowed, and 
having heavy outgoings at Kenwyn, and two houses to 
keep up, it is probable that he was even the poorer for 
his advancement. Mr. Selwyn's suggestion, at first made 
privately, ran thus : " You should give me half your income, 
and I should give you half mine, and I hope we shall 
find with Hesiod oa^ irXkov fjiuav iravro^ {Hesiod, Op. 40)." 
He then goes on to show that the net professorial income of 
the. Chair is ^^1506. Mr. Browne replied that so serious 
a matter ought to be carried out publicly and not by 
private arrangement. Mr. Selwyn was quite willing for 
this, and made application accordingly to the Heads of 
Houses, and they after some deliberation consented to 
the proposal 

About a year later appeared a Grace of the Senate to 
enable Dr. Selwyn, as Lady Margaret's Professor, to pay 
£700 a year to the Vice-Chancellor, to be by him applied 
towards the augmentation of the Norrisian Professorship 
so long as it was held by Mr. Browne, with a proviso that 
if he vacated the post the augmentation should thereupon 
fall back into the hands of the Senate, to be by them 
disposed of, as they might deem best, " for the encourage- 
ment of theological learning." In this way the two pro- 
fessorships were brought to nearly the same value, and the 
full time and energies of two Professors of Theology were 
secured to the University. 

Anyone who has seen, in later days, the affectionate and 
even brotherly terms on which, when Mr. Browne became 
Bishop of Ely, and Professor Selwyn was at his side as. 
one of the Canons of that Cathedral, these two dis- 
tinguished members of the now rising Cambridge School 


of Divinity lived together, must have felt that their inter- 
course gave full proof of the charitable and tolerant spirit 
which from the beginning has been the characteristic 
mark of that admirable school. 

By the terms of the bequest under which the office was 
created, the Norrisian Professorship was much hindered 
Mr. Norris was an ardent admirer of "Pearson on the 
Creed," and loaded his bequest to the University with the 
injunction that his Professor should at every lecture read 
this work to his pupils for the space of twenty minutes, 
and then comment on it for forty minutes. This mistaken 
enthusiasm for Pearson made the Professor's lectures 
almost useless, and the custom was brought to an end in 
i860, while Mr. Browne was still Professor, by a Statute 
of the University. 

Some Professors considered themselves at liberty to read 
their share of Pearson on the Creed every third lecture, so 
taking the three periods of twenty minutes in the lump ; 
and thus, on the other two lecture days of the week, they 
got an uninterrupted run of an hour for their own subjects. 
Professor Browne, however, adhered to the letter of his 
statute, and took his twenty minutes of Pearson every time, 
much to his own annoyance and to the detriment of his 
work. One of those who attended his lectures at this time 
writes thus : — 

"Although the reading [of Pearson] was clear and 
intelligent, and the excellence of the matter undoubted 
(Bentley used to say that Pearson's * very dross was gold '), 
it was a trying ordeal for a class of graceless undergraduates, 
who were wont to show impatience unless occupied with 
a class-book or lighter literature, which was read surrepti- 
tiously under the table, and would sometimes have to be 
noticed. The Professor would always administer his reproof 
in the most courteous manner, explaining that he was 
compelled, in obedience to the trust, to occupy a portion of 
the time with the somewhat dry reading. His kind manner 


always had the desired effect, and put to shame the 

The truth is, the Professor was not by nature a strong 
disciplinarian ; the law of love on which he ruled his own 
life, and the life of his household, with success, was not 
always safely applicable to the high spirits and merry 
impudence of the undergraduate who is reading for Orders. 
The present Master of Trinity has given me a happy 
illustration of this weak point in the Professor's armour, an 
illustration which brings out his gentleness of character, 
and shews that he never could resist the fascinations of 
a friendly dog. 

" One term," said Dr. Butler, " when I was staying up 
in Cambridge, after having lately taken my Master's 
Degree, I went in all the glories of my new silk gown, to 
attend a course of lectures the Professor was giving on 
St. Augustine. One day, a man happened to come in 
late, and in with him came a terrier dog, whose master 
had given him the slip by turning into one of the lecture- 
rooms. After the affable manner of an undergraduate's 
dog, the creature at once began to make the round of the 
class, offering and receiving all kinds of friendly notice 
from man to man. The whole lecture at once fell into 
confusion and tittering laughter, and the dear Professor, 
between his sympathy with the intruder and his gentle- 
ness, stood quite powerless, unable to quell the tumult 
And so it went on ; the terrier, feeling much pleased by 
the attentions he received and the effect of his polite 
manners, went on calling on student after student, until 
at last he reached me, and I, thinking the game had gone 
on long enough, and that I as a Master was bound to 
come to the Professor's help, swept my ample silk gown 
round the lively beast, and carried him out of the room. 
Order was then restored and the lecture went on again." 

Mr. Browne's lectures were of no common quality, and 
many men of very varied characters were the better for 
them. Thus Mr. Burnand, the humorous author of 



"Happy Thoughts," has sent me a little extract from 
his undergraduate diary : — 

" I have been attending Harold Browne's lectures on 
Dogmatic Theology. Splendid." 

Mr. Burnand, although he has altogether moved away 
from the Professor's side, transferring his allegiance in 
matters spiritual to Rome, still looks back with gratitude 
and affection on Mr. Browne's kindness to him in those 
far-off Cambridge days, when in 1858 he was full of 
perplexed uncertainties, and sought the kind sympathetic 
Professor's advice, and never in vain. 

" While he was Norrisian Professor at Cambridge . . . 
I attended Harold Browne's lectures, and was among the 
very few who used to go and assault him on ' difficulties.' 
He was always most considerate and courteous. I have 
no doubt I was a bore, — ^ a little Theology is a dangerous 
thing.* I was deeply interested in my subjects, and, quite 
unaided, made a list of crucial questions, familiar enough 
to the student of Divinity. However, the kind Professor 
gave me his extra time, and at last suggested that I should 
put aside all other matters and go either to Wells (it was 
very like telling me to *go to Bath,' wasn't it?) or to 
Cuddesdon. The immediate cause of this advice was a 
question I put to him, to which he was unable to give 
then and there a complete and satisfactory answer. . . . 

" Once again I wrote to consult him about another 
difficulty. . . . That is all I know of Harold Browne, 
one of the kindest and gentlest of men, for whom I cherish 
a reverent affection." 

The present Archbishop of York, Dr. Maclagan, in 
his letter of thanks to the aged Bishop of Winchester on 
his congratulations at the time of his nomination to that 
Metropolitan See in 1891, refers to a time, thirty-eight 
years before, when he had got no small benefit by at- 
tending his lectures as Norrisian Professor. Another 


distinguished student of the time, Dr. Merriman, sends 
me a somewhat different impression of the lectures : — 

" I attended his lectures. They were very careful and 
interesting in matter, a little dry and wanting in warmth 
of manner." 

And there are many others still living who look back 
with pleasure and gratitude to the influence exerted on 
them by one who always won the confidence and esteem 
of young men, listened to them, drew them out, and gave 
them kindly, wise advice. 

From this time the work at Kenwyn (never, we may be 
sure, neglected) necessarily took a secondary place. No 
more literary work issued from the damp study against 
the hillside, for Cambridge engrossed the whole attention 
of the new Professor. He had lectures to prepare and 
give ; he moved admirably along the lines of intellectual 
life which form the great charm of the Universities ; he 
was recognised as one of the chief factors in that moderate 
theological movement, conservative yet faithful and truth- 
ful, which was now beginning to make itself felt. For 
Cambridge scholarship, exactitude of thought, reluctance 
to embark on new ideas, all now took a theological 
direction : neither the poets nor the prophets of the 
Oxford movement had their counterparts at Cambridge ; 
where, instead of exploring new ground, and perhaps 
wandering across the border into neighbouring folds, men 
as a rule set to work on exegetics of the Bible, or on 
the Evidences, or on the patient study of those Eastern 
tongues which throw light on the early history of Chris- 
tianity. Mr. Browne returned to Cambridge at the critical 
point of time ; the three men, whose work, with his, has 
given stability to the theological movement of our time, 
and has done so much to secure the Church of England 


on the lines of sound scholarship, fair and honest criticism, 
and a genuine historical appeal to the facts of the history 
of early Christianity, were at that moment just coming 
into prominence. Dr. Westcott, now Bishop of Durham, 
took his degree in 1848, Hort in 1850, Bishop Lightfoot 
in 1851. Dr. Westcott, replying in 1890 to the Bishop 
of Winchester's congratulations on his appointment 
to Durham, speaks warmly of the way in which, on his 
return to Cambridge to work under Dr. Lightfoot, he was 
welcomed and encouraged by our Bishop. And Professor 
Browne never spared himself, was never a recluse, never 
neglected practical chances of influencing men. Arch- 
deacon Emery says that : — 

" He threw himself actively into the religious work at 
Cambridge ; attended gatherings of students for religious 
purposes, especially for the Society for the Propagation of 
the Gospel. In 1858 or 1859 he became an active member 
of the 'Church Defence Association ; he was thoughtful, 
moderate, judicious in all things." 

Contact with Cambridge, and the quickened life of 
moderate Churchmanship which marked that University, 
could not fail to arouse all Professor Browne's energies, 
and to send them flowing along the channel of a revived 
Church life. No man was ever more distinctly a child of 
Cambridge. His scholarship and his study of early 
Christian writers formed one side of his industry ; his re- 
markable power of acquiring languages, his singular gift 
of orderly thinking, his moderation of tone and character, 
all these qualities came out during these years of quiet 
work. His kindness attracted rather painful attention at 
times: people thought they might appeal to him for 
anything, and place any burden on his shoulders. There 
is a letter belonging to this period from Charles Marriott 
of Oriel, begging Professor Browne to revise a translation 


of the Paschal Epistles of St Athanasius from the Syriac, 
a work lately undertaken by Mr. Burgess. The Professor 
was asked to take in hand this wearisome and thankless 
task without the least remuneration for much expenditure 
of time and energy. 

The questions mooted by the so-called " Papal Aggres- 
sion," with the newly felt need of proving the stability of 
the position held by the English Church, set Professor 
Browne thinking much about the principles on which 
he must take his stand. He saw that there were two 
lines on which the Reformation could be defended — the 
right of men to free judgment, and the historic con- 
tinuity of the Episcopate. The latter appeared to him 
by far the more important, and essential in a controversy 
with Rome. When one of the two parties absolutely 
denies the right of private judgment, the claim to it can 
only be asserted by using it ; but if the English Church 
can prove the continuity of its Orders, she will be on 
ground which even her opponents must respect The 
Romanists had shown how important they deemed the 
point by labouring to discredit the English Episcopate 
through the Nag's Head Tavern fable, and other such semi- 
historical arguments. Mr. Browne, without being profess- 
edly a historian, was quite convinced that the Roman 
claim to possess alone a true succession from apostolic 
days was historically unsound. His mind also brought 
the chief doctrines in which Rome differs from antiquity, 
and especially the new dogmas lately promulgated, to the 
test of Scripture and the consensus of the early centuries 
of the Church ; and as a result, he was firmly convinced 
in his own judgment that Rome was an innovator, 
and that his own conservative position was the only 
sound one. Still he felt, as every sensitive person has 
felt, the weight of dimension and antiquity urged by the 


Other side ; such lofty claims, backed by such dignity and 
vastness of possession, the world has never seen. And 
feeling this, he was led to ask how he could best show the 
real strength and life of the English Church. The argu- 
ment from historical antiquity must be sustained, and the 
orthodoxy of the English Church defended ; but more was 
needed. And this led Churchmen, and Professor Browne 
among the first, to turn their attention to the organisation 
of the Church at home, as well as to the relations in which 
it stood towards other bodies of Christians ; that is, the 
missionary and other episcopates of the English-speaking 
world, as well as other ancient episcopal bodies which 
denied the supremacy of Rome. The first of these matters 
led men to aim at a more formal organisation of the 
English Church, by convocation, by conferences, by diverse 
echoes of synodal or parliamentary action : it became 
necessary to shew that the Church of England was a 
living and a self-governing entity, not a mere congre- 
gational aggregate of units, nor, on the other hand, a 
department of the State, as its position as an Established 
Church had led many to believe. 

Hence, first, arose the deep interest with which Bishop 
Harold Browne regarded all matters relating to the Con- 
vocation of the Church. Next, he did all in his power to 
draw the daughter Churches of the English-speaking world 
into closer communion with the mother Church. No one 
ever watched or attended the Lambeth gatherings with 
more zeal or more hope. Thirdly, he held out a friendly 
hand to foreign episcopal Churches, whether among the 
Greeks, or the old Catholics of Germany, or at Utrecht, or 

The practical outcome of this interest in the foreign 
Churches was the creation of the Anglo-Continental 
Society, which aimed at trying to draw together all 


episcopal, non-Roman Churches. This Society, though it 
has never filled a large space in the interests of the 
English Church (for men here hardly realise the import- 
ance of the currents of religious feeling and Church 
government abroad), has worked steadily and zealously, 
on rather old-fashioned High Church lines. 

Mr. Browne at once began to take active measures to 
persuade the English Church to stretch out a friendly 
hand to the non-Roman part of Christendom, and in 1856 
published a letter on the Eastern bishoprics. His friend 
and colleague, Christopher Wordsworth, afterwards Bishop 
of Lincoln, had also joined the Anglo-Continental move- 
ment, and continued to be its champion and friend to the 
close of his life. He, in this year 1856, proposed to move 
in the Lower House of Convocation for an Address of 
sympathy to the Eastern bishops. It was also suggested 
at the same time that the English Church should place an 
Anglican bishop at Constantinople, who might befriend 
and instruct the bishops of the Armenian and other 
Christian Churches lying under the dominion of the Turk. 
The subject had been introduced to the notice of English 
Churchmen by a letter from the Rev. L. M. Hogg, whose 
attention had been called to it by the great influx of 
Englishmen into Constantinople at the time of the Crimean 
war. He saw plainly that the Turk would consent to 
anything the English might at that moment suggest ; and 
writing on the 20th February, 1856, he says there is quite 
a providential opening "for encouraging friendly inter- 
course with the Greek and Armenian prelates and clergy, 
and [for] the endeavour to present Christianity, through 
our own Church system, favourably to the Turkish eye." 
The letter suggests names of those who would be suitable 
for such a post as that of an episcopal missionary, — 
Archdeacon Grant, Professor Browne, and the Bishop of 


Glasgow, Dr. Trower. Mr. Hogg draws a sketch of the 
political bearings of the moment, and urges Professor 
Browne to obtain an Address from Convocation to the 
Greek bishops, with special assurances as to the non- 
aggressive attitude taken by the English Church. This 
Address he hoped bishops present at the consecration of 
the new English church at Constantinople would present 
to the Greek bishops at that time. 

This scheme for an out-post Bishop at Constantinople 
came to nothing, as might have been expected ; we could 
not in this way occupy the point of connection between 
East and West, even in matters ecclesiastical, without 
arousing suspicions, jealousies, and the very evils we 
should most desire to avoid : such an appointment would 
have had against it the open or covert hostility of every 
state in Europe ; and where the " Sacred Places " contro- 
versy had so lately raged, an Anglican bishop could never 
have been regarded as other than an interloper. The 
Greeks might perhaps have tried to play him off against 
the Romans, as a part of that game of diplomacy which 
has gone on for ages ; but the complications and risks 
would have far exceeded the benefits arising from the 
scheme. So it was dropped, and the occasion allowed to 
pass ; yet it was not without value, in creating a more 
friendly feeling between the Eastern Churches and the 

Early in the following year Mr. Browne was called 
away from these larger questions to matters nearer home. 
He had to work his way through a most complicated 
negotiation. Everyone in the diocese of Exeter, from the 
Bishop downward, was anxious that he should be brought 
up to the cathedral city, instead of being left far off at 
Kenwyn. And the Bishop had a large scheme on hand, 
by which the valuable living of Heavitree, with a canonry 


residentiary in Exeter Cathedral and perhaps the Arch- 
deaconry of Exeter, should be conferred on him, on 
condition that he left Cambridge and became Principal of 
a theological college to be founded under the Bishop's 
wing at Exeter. Mr. Browne naturally would not abandon 
his more important post at Cambridge for a local theo- 
logical college, which must, at first at least, have been a 
venture. The archdeaconry was in the gift of the Bishop 
of Exeter ; the canons residentiary are co-opted out of the 
body of prebendaries (the latter having all been appointed 
by the Bishop), and the valuable vicarage of Heavitrec 
was also in the gift of the Chapter, which was very anxious 
to elect Mr. Browne into their body. Everything was held 
in suspense by the Bishop's scheme ; and the following 
letter from Dean Lowe shews how the Chapter regarded 
the matter: — 

"Deanery, Exeter, February i6M, 1857. 

" My dear Browne, — I most deeply regret, and I am 
sure that every member of our Chapter will regret as 
deeply as I do, the determination of the Bishop of Exeter 
to make, as far as in him lies, your more intimate connexion 
with our body dependent on your acceptance of the head- 
ship of his projected theological college — a condition 
which I am sure you did right in promptly rejecting, and 
which I hardly imagine he could seriously think you 
would accept. But at the same time, I cannot but express 
my strong conviction that however great the present 
disappointment may be to us, it will end in a greater 
disappointment to his Lordship, and will tend to your 
ultimate advantage. By the death of poor Atherley, 
Heavitree is now vacant ; our last accounts of Archdeacon 
M. Stevens are somewhat better ; and under these cir- 
cumstances, I feel a pardonable curiosity to see how the 
Bishop will play his game, and what will be his first move. 
Nothing, I presume, that has yet occurred will interfere 
with your discharge of the office of Substitute in our 
Cathedral, at least during the present year ; but, should 
anything of the kind turn up, we shall all of us be most 


anxious to consult your wishes, and to make any practi- 
cable arrangement to suit your convenience. For the kind 
expressions of your friendship and regard towards me, I 
am most unfeignedly and deeply grateful ; and believing, 
as I do, that you are eminently qualified, by your deep 
learning, your sound judgment, and your exemplary 
moderation and candour, to adorn the highest offices in 
the Church, whatever conduces to your happiness and 
honour will be to me a cause of rejoicing. 

" Believe me ever, my dear Browne, 
" Yours most truly, 

" Thos. Hill Lowe." 

Letters from old Mr. Barnes, the much respected Chapter 
Clerk of Exeter, shew rather more clearly what the scheme 
was. It was proposed to endow the archdeaconry of 
Exeter with the living of Heavitree and a canonry ; and 
the Bishop's aim was to get Mr. Browne to accept the 
living and canonry from the Dean and Chapter ; then, on 
the next vacancy to the Archdeaconry, he would appoint 
him to that also ; lastly, by means of Professor Browne's 
popularity, he hoped to get Heavitree and the canonry 
permanently attached to the archdeaconry, — so transferring 
this valuable patronage to himself. The scheme, however, 
hung fire, because of the Bishop's wish to secure Mr. 
Browne as Head of his projected College. Finding, how- 
ever, that he could not shake the Professor, he reluctantly 
gave way ; and thus all was made smooth for the Chapter. 
Chancellor Martin, in a letter dated February 22nd, 1857, 
says : — 

" I cannot resist my desire to write you a line to express 
my great pleasure at understanding that the Bishop has 
relented on the subject of the theological college, and my 
most earnest hope that you will not reject us, if the arch- 
deaconry, the stall, and the living of Heavitree should be 
offered to you together. For the Chapter, for the City of 
Exeter, for Heavitree and the archdeaconry, and for the 
diocese, I really think the arrangement would be a most 


valuable gain, without precluding any future interests of your 
own. . . . Has Mrs. Harold Browne ever seen the Vicarage 
at Heavitree, with its lawn and garden and most con- 
venient connexion with the church? I remember how 
well off you were in that respect at Kenwyn. But Heavitree 
is a very nice and most convenient clergyman's residence ; 
and on a most healthy gravel soil and elevation." 

The moment it appeared clear to Professor Browne that 
the move to Heavitree would not oblige him to leave 
Cambridge, he consented. The income was larger, the 
position much more central, and, so far, nearer Cambridge ; 
he would be a member of the Cathedral Chapter, welcomed 
heartily by all, and within touch of the Bishop, with whose 
opinions he was in the main in harmony. At Kenwyn and 
Kea he had been obliged to have three curates ; and more 
or less under his eye had been no less than five distinct 
churches and six clergymen, with nine dayschools. As the 
Cornwall Gazette (of April 17th, 1857) says : — 

" All looked up to him with reverence and affection ; for 
he was even less admired for his great talents and learning 
than loved for his childlike simplicity, his gentle spirit, his 
admirable discretion." 

So that everyone turned to him for advice, for help, for 
consolation ; and his parish duties were almost more than 
he could bear : it was at Kenwyn that, as he said, he had 
" worked harder than ever he had in his life." Heavitree, 
the daughter-churches having been long severed from it, 
though a large parish, was yet fairly compact, and in 
many ways more desirable than Kenwyn. Then followed, 
as soon as possible, the resignation of Kenwyn, a general 
letter addressed to all his parishioners, and the preaching 
of two. sermons which have been printed, on Easter Day, 
1857. They can scarcely be described as "farewell 
sermons ; " for the morning sermon deals solely with the 


topic of the day, and the afternoon discourse refers only in 
a quiet way to his departure ; there are no affecting appeals, 
no sorrowful leave-takings. He thinks it enough to bid 
them farewell by leaving with them the sense of the Presence 
of Christ. 

His farewell letter is much more expansive than the 
sermons, and full of wise advice, though it does not profess 
any very strong regret : — 

" To THE Parishioners of Kenwyn and Kea. 

" My dear Friends, — No doubt many of you will have 
heard that I am not likely long to continue Vicar of 
Kenwyn and Kea. I have felt for some time the great 
difficulty of attending to the duties of the joint parishes, so 
extensive and populous, and at so great a distance from 
Cambridge, whilst I have the important office which I hold 
in this University. I have long thought that the constant 
presence of the Vicar was very necessary in so large a 
sphere of labour. Hence, if nothing else had called me 
away, I had well nigh resolved to resign the living this 
summer. As it is, I have received a pressing invitation to 
a new post of duty, which, for a time at least, I may hold 
with my professorship at Cambridge ; and after much 
thought and anxious deliberation, I have consented to 
accept it. I trust that I have been guided rightly in this 
decision. My chief motive in leaving you has been a desire 
for your welfare. A Vicar who can devote all his time to 
you, and whose strength is equal to the task, will, I hope, 
be found to succeed me. May God's blessing and the 
grace of His Holy Spirit rest on him and on you. I 
doubt if he will love you better or feel a deeper interest in 
your welfare than I have done, and still do. But he may 
easily labour amongst you with greater efficiency and 

" I have many amongst you endeared to me by ties of 
family as well as of pastoral relationship, and am not 
likely wholly to lose sight of you even in this world. Yet, 
at present, I shall be able to pass but very few days among 
you, and am glad of this opportunity to say but a few 
parting words. 

" Whatever may have been my infirmity and short- 


comings in my ministry among you, I have striven, to 
the best of my power and by the grace of God, to teach 
you the true doctrine of Christ's Gospel and of the Church, 
whose minister I am. My great hope has been to in- 
culcate, first purity, both of faith and practice, and next 
peace. There are many dangers in the present day to 
faith and practice and to peace. We have all seen the 
danger of straying to the right hand and to the left, and 
how extremes on the one side ever lead to extremes on the 
other. There cannot be such a time as the present, when 
all old truths seem to be undergoing a new shaking and 
sifting, without much and serious trial of every Christian's 
heart. Let me pray you to hold fast to the form of sound 
words which has been taught you, to shun controversies, to 
shun extreme parties, to seek peace and ensue it. Let the 
Church, which for centuries has held forth to your fathers 
and to you, be your home here. Let Holy Scripture and 
the blessed words of Christ's Gospel be your light. Let 
Christ Himself be the constant hope, the daily refuge of 
your souls. Let the grace of God's Holy Spirit be that 
which you seek, and pray for and trust to for help and 
guidance through life. And strive to keep before your 
eyes and hearts continually, in the midst of all that is 
changing here, the unchanging presence of the Father of 
our spirits, to which we are all hastening. He has 
promised eyes to the blind, wisdom to the foolish, strength 
to the weak, guidance to the wandering ; and if we rest 
upon His promise, and strive to follow His guiding, we 
may be sure that at last we shall be led safely. to His 

" Brethren, that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the 
love of God, and the fellowship of His Spirit may be with 
you and your children for ever, is the earnest prayer of 

" Your affectionate and faithful servant in Christ, 

" E. Harold Browne. 

"Cambridge, April ist, 1857." 

It was of this letter that the Professor, writing soon after 
this time, says : — 

" I had an unexpected compliment paid me last night. 
Mr. Alex. Paull met a party of dissenters yesterday with 
Mr. Gostich, the Wesleyan minister, at the head of them. 


They talked about me. Mr. Gostich said he had a copy 
of my parting address, which he would not part with for 
£$Oy as it was quite apostolical ; and after a further con- 
versation among * our dissenting brethren ' about me, they 
concluded by drinking my health." 

Twice, after this time, we have pleasant notices which 
shew how the Bishop cherished the memory of his Kenwyn 
friends. In October 1876 he was at Truro, and preached 
in Kenwyn Church to a full congregation a perfectly 
simple and earnest sermon on one word, " Lost " (from 
St Luke XV. 4). After graphically describing the sad 
state of a lost sheep, a lost dog, a lost child, a lost soul, he 
ended the sermon with the following touching reference to 
the old days : — 

" It is nearly twenty years since I lived here among you 
as the pastor of this parish, where by God's grace I tried 
to seek out lost souls. Many have gone to their rest 
since that time ; many have grown up to manhood who 
then were infants ; many middle aged persons have grown 
old. I ask you all to think of your souls, and see how it 
has fared with them during those twenty years since we 
met here and parted. Have you found Jesus Christ, and 
has He found you ? If you were lost on the mountains, 
has He come and taken you on His shoulders and carried 
you to His flock and sheepfold? have you stayed with 
Him ? are you still His ? Or have you gone wandering 
away again? If so, then I ask you to-day, once more 
coming among you, no longer as your pastor, but as one 
who once was, and who sees among you many familiar 
faces, — I ask you to remember that you are free to repent 
and return to Jesus Christ once more. Let past falls, past 
wanderings, past losings of yourselves, make you more 
watchful, more careful, more prayerful, and more deter- 
mined never to give up prayer and communion with God, 
frequenting His Holy House, receiving His Holy Sacrament, 
that so you may be strengthened and fed by Christ, and 
kept in the arms of His mercy, and at last brought to His 
home in Heaven, where there will be joy in the presence of 
the angels of God over one who was lost and is found." 


And again, on a greater occasion, when as Bishop of 
Winchester he took part in the consecration of Truro 
Cathedral in October 1887, we learn how warmly his heart 
clung to his old Kenwyn friends. The allusion to the 
ritual used is very natural and characteristic. He was 
large-minded enough to acquiesce in things indifferent, 
where they did not mean some doctrine which he knew 
to be wrong ; in which case they ceased to be indifferent 
to him. 

"... The services were gorgeous and elaborate, the 
music very good. . . . The ritual was higher than I am 
used to ; but I feel no repugnance to it, if it does not offend 
the laity. The congregations and meetings were crowded, 
and very reverent. ... At eight the Mayor had a very 
large reception, where we met hosts of late parishioners 
and friends. . . . My old friends received me very warmly, 
and listened most kindly to what I had to say. It- was 
touching and trying. . . . Yesterday we drove over to 
Enys', and found Mrs. Enys somewhat aged, but very kind 
and warm in memories of old times. Tom Philpotts and 
his wife and a daughter of Henry Philpotts dined with us 
yesterday. T. P. and I were at Eton together sixty-four 
years ago. He is nearly eighty-one. I shall soon be 
seventy-seven if I live. . . ." 

With these touching utterances, which shew us the 
venerable Bishop clinging to old friends and revisiting with 
pleasure scenes of former activity, we may well bid farewell to 
the seven years of his life at Kenwyn, and turn our eyes to 
the new work before him. The change to Exeter was clearly 
intended, by Bishop, Dean, and Chapter alike, to wean him 
from Cambridge, and to settle him down in a life of per- 
manent usefulness in Devonshire. The forces of the life he 
had led and of the work he had done were, however, far too 
strong to allow his career to be thus diverted. By the time 
a man has reached the age of forty-six, if there is anything 
in him he has usually made his groove in the world, and 


cannot well be dislodged from it It was eminently so 
with Professor Browne. The world recked little of his 
valuable labours at Kenwyn and Heavitree ; men knew 
him as one who had written the book on the Articles at 
Lampeter, and had made his mark as a theological and 
linguistic authority at Cambridge, rather than as the 
devoted parish priest. As some Cardinals, for one reason 
or another, become *' Papabili " early in their career, so 
Mr. Browne had been long marked out, both among his 
friends and generally, for a bishopric ; and his work at 
Exeter, important as it was, became quite secondary to 
that he was carrying out at Cambridge. 

Professor Browne was instituted to Heavitree on May 9th, 
1857, and 'read himself in' the following day; he was 
installed as Canon on December 28th in the same year. 
His stay at Heavitree was very short ; he preached his 
farewell sermon there on January 3rd, 1858. The present 
Vicar of Heavitree, the Rev. Sackville H. Berkeley, says : — 

" He first attempted any organisation of the parish in 
the shape of districts for regular visitation, etc. ; and had 
so great a power of attracting people to a personal attach- 
ment to himself that his departure after only about six 
months' residence in the parish was lamented as if it had 
been as many years." 

It must have been with real pleasure and even pride 
that Mr. Browne remembered, as he went about his parish 
work at Heavitree, that here one of his chief Church- 
heroes and models, Richard Hooker, was said to have 
been born into the world. 

It was during the life at Heavitree that the writer of 
this Memoir first enjoyed the privilege of spending a 
couple of days under his roof, and of seeing something of 
the happy domestic life and halcyon days of peace which 
made his home delightful, wherever it might be. I 


remember that at breakfast the question as to the MS. 
readings of the well-known passage i Tim. iii. 16, " God 
was manifest in the flesh," came up, and how much I was 
struck by the promptness with which, after we had talked 
a bit about it, he withdrew to his library, and came back 
after a couple of minutes with a note of the MS. evidence 
for and s^ainst the accepted reading, with the value of it 
given, almost as if it had been a mathematical formula. 
It was this clearness and distinctness of vision which gave 
to all he said so much weight. Men felt that he was a 
safe guide, because he could look at both sides and weigh 
arguments and probabilities and strike a fair balance. 

Mr. Browne had now severed his connection with 
Cornwall ; this gave the Cornish clergy the opportunity, 
which they were only too glad to accept, of paying him 
a high compliment. He had, from the revival of Con- 
vocation, represented them as their Proctor in the Lower 
House, and he had been re-elected by them early in 1857. 
He now, however, felt bound to place himself unreservedly 
in their hands, offering to resign at once, if they considered 
it right. The clergy however, without the slightest hesita- 
tion, begged him to retain his post, for they were quite 
clear that they could not be better represented ; and he 
accordingly continued to be their Proctor for some time 
after he had become a member of the Exeter Chapter. 

And now followed a quiet time ; it has been said of 
Bishop Harold Browne that his life at this time ran in 
septennial periods, — nearly seven at Lampeter, seven at 
Kenwyn, and seven as Canon of Exeter ; and of these 
three successive epochs the last seems to have been the 
most tranquil. It was a time in which all looked up to 
him as an adviser, if not as a leader ; the Chapter of 
Exeter regarded him as their strong man ; his old friends 
appealed to him for help in various ways ; frightened 



clergy and others, thrQwn off their balance by "Essays 
and Reviews " and by die terrible Bish<^ of Natal, looked 
anxiously to see what answer he would make to these 
developments of the modern spirit of criticism ; and lastly, 
the Bishop of Exeter seems to have never given up the 
hope that Mr. Browne would help his project for some 
better, or at least some more direct, system of teaching 
for candidates for Orders, and, immediately after his 
installation as Canon, addressed him a letter on the subject 
of theological learning and study in the English Church. 
Mr. Browne, while he felt as much as the Bishop did 
the need for far more careful training of young men 
destined for the sacred profession, could not forget that 
at Cambridge he had their education already much in his 
hands ; and he certainly had no wish at all to give them 
that narrowing type of seminary teaching which is almost 
inevitable in a theological college. 

Writing on December 29th, 1857, the Bishop says : — 

" I consider Chapters as a very important part of our 
ecclesiastical system ; but in order that they should perform 
their functions usefully, they ought to be composed of 
highly qualified members. Theological attainments, where 
they can be found, as in you they are found, in a high 
degree and of a most sound and truly catholic character, 
are such a qualification as ought to command a place in 
the Chapter with which their possessor is connected. Our 
Church particularly needs a higher theological tone in her 
clergy, and is unhappily very deficient in proper seminaries. 
She depends at present altogether on the exertions of a 
few individuals like yourself. This ought not to be. My 
anxiety is to supply, as far as my opportunities shall 
enable me, this great deficiency in the diocese of Exeter. 
Before you return to Cambridge I hope you will gratify 
me with a visit I am very desirous of talking with you 
on this, and on other matters.'* 

And, three years later, a letter from Bishop Philpott 
shows that he was still anxious on this subject, and had 


caught something of the despondent tone affected by the 
Episcopate when the Universities ceased to be closed 
against all except members of the Church of England. 
This act of common sense and justice had thrown the 
clergy into a kind of paroxysm of alarm. A generation 
has passed since that day, and all who have really known 
the Universities then and now will confess that the 
Christian faith and practice are really stronger in them 
now than in the old protected days. 

It is interesting to notice that Mr. Browne was appealed 
to by others also to help in the matter of theological 
colleges. In November 1858 he received a letter from 
Bishop Wilberforce of Oxford, asking him whether he 
could recommend a fit person to be head of the new insti- 
tution at Cuddesdon. The Bishop of Oxford does not 
invite him to take the post, though he probably had him 
in his mind's eye when he described the sort of man he 
wanted : — 

" I want," he writes, " a gentleman, a theologian, a man 
who will influence the young men, and one who is a 
thoroughly sound English Churchman, and who will dis- 
courage all party symbols and excesses and puerilities in 

Many lesser matters also occupied Mr. Browne's attention 
at this time. His old and well-loved friend, Matthew B. 
Hale, was induced to accept the semi-missionary bishopric 
of Perth in Western Australia. It is on record of him 
that he struggled hard to escape from the necessity of 
having to adopt the style and title of " My Lord," holding 
that as a colonial bishop he would be better without it. 
The legal authorities, however, held that he must accept 
the courtesy-title, and he had to yield. The moment he 
had made up his mind to accept the bishopric he wrote to 
Mr. Browne, to beg of. him two favours ; first, to preach 


the sermon at his consecration on St. James's Day, 1857 ; 
and secondly to consent to act as his commissary in 
England — an office which he cheerfully undertook, al- 
though it involved a large amount of dull business-work. 
He did it till he was promoted to Ely, and rendered 
** services," says the Bishop, " of infinite value to me, and I 
am quite aware that they were extremely troublesome to 

These years were not altogether devoid of literary 
results. They saw the publication of a sermon entitled 
" Holy Ground," preached in Waltham Abbey Church on 
the eight hundredth anniversary of the foundation of that 
Abbey ; and of another discourse preached at Aylesbury 
on behalf of the Societies for the Propagation of the Gospel 
and for Promoting Christian Knowledge, both of them in 
i860. Also a brief defence of the war in New Zealand in 
the days when his brother, Sir Thomas Gore Browne, 
was Governor ; this appeared at the end of the year i860 
or early in 1861. The chief work of this time was a 
volume of seven sermons, all preached before the Univer- 
sity of Cambridge, two of them in 1855 and the rest in 
1859. These are admirable discourses, very varied in 
subject and treatment. His tone of mind, though he 
hardly appreciated the liberal theologians, was always 
kindly and fair ; if he was a controversialist at any 
time, his weapons were neither barbed nor poisoned. 
He was now approaching a very critical period in the 
history of English religious thought ; if he was not swept 
along with the current of daring speculation and enquiry, 
at any rate he was not swept off his legs by the panic 
which possessed the souls of less learned Churchmen. 

But before we enter on the stirring times in which bitter 
controversy raged around "Essays and Reviews" and 
Bishop Colenso, we must devote a little time to an episode 


of these peaceful years, and describe the efforts made in 
vain to secure for Canon Browne the Deanery of Exeter, 
now vacant by the death of Dr. Lowe. Mr. Browne 
published a friendly and sympathetic memoir of the late 
Dean in the Guardian ; he does not seem to have been 
aware of the efforts then being made by his friends to get 
him the Deanery. Lord Palmerston was at that time 
Prime Minister; and the Exeter people, from the Bishop 
downward, were horribly afraid lest some Low Churchman, 
as seemed only too probable, or, more alarming still, some 
Liberal Churchman, should be appointed. Their wishes 
and fears alike led them to do their utmost to get it for the 
Norrisian Professor. The scheme in the mind of the Bishop 
of Exeter seems to have been to have Canon Browne in 
the Deanery as a first step towards the fulfilment of his 
wish for a Cornish Assistant Bishop. Had Mr. Browne's 
friends been successful, instead of being Bishop of Ely 
and Winchester he probably would have ended his life 
among his Cornish friends and kinsfolk. Archdeacon 
Downall did his very best. He was Chiiplain to the Duke 
of Bedford, deemed omnipotent among the Whigs of that 
day, and writes as follows to his patron in February 1861 : — 

" I do not think that, search the country through, there 
could be found a safer, more moderate, more valuable 
person, as a gentleman, a scholar, a divine, than Canon 
Browne ; nor [one] more free from all Church party extra- 
vagances, or a more truly devoted Christian man." 

But he piped in vain ; the Deanery was never offered to 
Mr. Browne. 

At this time he also printed a thin volume of Sermons 
entitled " Messiah as Foretold and Expected ; A Course 
of Sermons on the Prophecies of the Messiah, as in- 
terpreted by the Jews before the coming of Christ." 
The publication was welcomed cordially by persons of 


many different shades of opinion, and pointed to some 
reaction against the utterances of the more extreme High 
Church writers. The Professor shews how the sacrificial 
theory of the Christian revelation, much insisted on from 
opposite sides, first by the " Evangelical " school, and 
then, in connexion with the Holy Communion, by the 
later Anglicans, came from the Jews ; how Jewish terms 
were commonly used by Christians, till metaphorical 
expressions came to be treated as statements of fact ; and 
how the Jewish doctrines of sacrifice and atonement had 
thrown a deep shadow over the progress of Christianity. 
It may be said with some truth that these Sermons were 
the beginning of what inevitably follows when a healthy 
movement passes into the hands of enthusiastic partisans 
who push principles beyond their fair development, and 
try to keep their party moving by unwise advances. Pro- 
fessor Browne's Sermons are learned and sober-minded, 
nowhere reactionary or extreme in either language or 
thought It was a pity that the " Essayists and 
Reviewers " and Bishop Colenso, who in their earlier days 
had mostly been warm High Churchmen, failed to emulate 
his moderation of thought and word An eloquent writer 
dealing with these Sermons of his, ends by begging the 
author to complete the cycle of his theological plan by 
publishing a second course of sermons, on " The Royalty 
and Coming Kingdom of Christ ; " — that is, on the opus 
consummatum of the Incarnation, — ^so as to bring before 
men's eyes "not the cross only, but the throne," not the 
" suffering of Christ " only, but, much more, " the glory that 
should follow." It is certain that this advice was in full 
accord with his mind, and would have rounded off his 
scheme of theology. Years after, when the completion of 
the Great Screen of Winchester Cathedral was under dis- 
cussion, and his formal opinion was asked by the Dean as 


to placing a majestic figure of the Lord in Glory on the 
central cross, amidst a great company of adoring and 
rejoicing saints, the SLged Bishop expressed himself as 
decidedly favourable to the proposal, because he not only 
thought it artistically superior to any other treatment, but 
still more because he deemed it a more true representation 
of the complete work of redemption and of the final triumph 
of the Cross. 



WE approach a dark moment in the history of the 
English Church. Men lost their balance ; once 
more were heard the voices of those who " woke from sleep 
and shouted * -namus.^ " Few seemed even to pretend to 
preserve a judicial mind. Those who, like Professor 
Browne, endeavoured to treat the matters in dispute 
calmly, to be courteous to the disputants, and to uphold 
the truth by frank enquiry in the spirit of charity, were 
regarded with distrust, and often were abused more bitterly 
than the men who had caused the turmoil. 

We are come to the days of " Essays and Reviews," and 
to the " Commentary on the Romans *' and the " Penta- 
teuch and the Book of Joshua critically examined," with 
which the Bishop of Natal startled the tranquil ChurcL 
Here was a man who, instead of confining himself to what 
are accounted proper missionary labours, not only brought 
historical criticism to bear, with more zeal than discretion, 
on the ancient fabric of the Pentateuch, but also was 
led, by the references in the Gospels to Moses and the 
children of Israel, to speculate on questions about the 
relation of the divine and human natures in the Person of 
our Lord, and of the possible limitation of His knowledge. 

Thanks to the clear sketch of this period in the pages 

Ch.II.] the troubles in the church. 20I 

of Archbishop Tait's Life, our task is vastly lightened. It 
would be wearisome to retrace the whole story of these 
half-forgotten matters, which in their day blazed and 
exploded with volcanic energy. We have only to en- 
deavour to make clear the position taken up by Harold 
Browne. Though he was perhaps one of the most orthodox 
and dogmatic of English Churchmen, to whom the strife 
was most painful, — for the innovators seemed to him 
hasty, violent, and theologically unsound, — he never was 
betrayed into violent language. He tried always to dis- 
tinguish between the statements he so much disliked and 
the side-issues on which the orthodox party wished to 
fight ; he deprecated the vehemence of certain zealous 
spirits who, in their eagerness to condemn error, were 
prepared to limit the English Church to a narrow platform, 
unworthy of the catholic breadth of her true position* 
Thus, he never hesitated, in the case of Bishop Temple, 
to stand by one with whom, theologically, he was not in 
sympathy, when the newly-made Bishop was attacked 
with ignorant outcry. Still more was this judicial temper 
visible when Bishop Colenso, against whose writings, 
as we shall see, he testified with vigour, was being dealt 
with so as to introduce new and dangerous precedents 
into the constitution of the English Church. The great 
weight of his known orthodoxy and character stood 
between the erring Bishop and his opponents, and he 
helped effectually to arrest proceedings which were being 
pushed forward with feverish zeal. It was clear to him 
that here were men who, to secure their adversary's con- 
demnation, were for loosening, even for breaking, the 
ties which connect the Church in the Colonies with the 
See of Canterbury. 

It had become plain to thinking minds that the action 
and reaction of parties within the Church of England had 


reached a point at which there was no standing still. The 
High Church movement, strong in the enthusiastic support 
of the younger clergy, had far outstripped the slow, 
cautious, and simple Churchmanship of the bulk of lay 
people in England. The average Churchman, suspicious 
of high ideals, and penetrated with a hereditary fear of 
Romanism, looked with the gravest anxiety on the new 
ideals placed ^before him. To him, the gospel in its 
primitive simplicity was enough ; the Bible was sacred in 
the English version ; his leaning towards Puritanism was 
daily shocked by men who introduced elaborate ritual, 
and seemed to preach a gospel which mingled the world 
as it is with the Church of Christ, pleasing alike the 
light votaries of London society and the hard-pressed 
dwellers in the dark places of our cities. The Evangelical 
school had its strength in the middle classes of England, 
and could not appreciate a movement which seemed to 
attract alike the frivolous and the downtrodden. The 
older school had not set much store by learning; the 
votaries of the newer opinions prided themselves on their 
University culture, on their sympathy with the progress 
of Art, on their serious study of patristic literature. It is 
clear that the one company was essentially conservative, 
suspicious of change and innovation ; while in the other 
were plenty of eager spirits, greedy of novelties and ready 
to move in any direction towards which freedom from 
prejudice, a bold disdain of old convention, the noble 
curiosity which prompts to venturesome advance, might 
lead their willing feet. After a while, some of the most 
distinguished of the party fled to the shelter of Rome, 
guided partly by devotion to a high ideal of the Church, 
partly by a feeling akin to despair in the presence of 
modern criticism. For side by side with these two well- 
defined parties had grown up a third company, touched 


with the spirit of the time, conscious that modern study 
had thrown new light on many of the old bases of faith, 
eager to "prove all things," and to assert the paramount 
sanctity of Truth. Enquiry was in the air. 

Among the more active-minded of the High Churchmen 
was a knot of men who were not afraid to court enquiry, 
to face difficulties fairly, to speak frankly on matters which 
filled others only with alarm. The strength of the Broad 
Church movement, which has never wished to be a party, 
is largely drawn from men who first were High Churchmen. 
Between those who pressed on Romewards, and those of 
the coming school, who longed to treat religious problems 
in a liberal spirit, stood, and still stand, the great bulk 
of the High Church party, as immovable as their Low 
Church brethren, and sometimes joining hands with 
them in the sad business of repression. Many prominent 
members of the liberal school had carried their earlier 
speculations on authority, whether of the Bible or of the 
Church, on the spiritual life of the Church, and on the 
presence of Christ, to a point which seemed to their old 
friends alarming and dangerous. More and more was 
the new school convinced that the task of searching into 
the truth is laid on us all. Naturally, they had to swim 
against a swirling tide of alarm and dislike ; the denun- 
ciations of scared ignorance, the remonstrances of official 
Churchmanship, roused in them, only too readily, the natural 
passions of anger and contempt. For it is so much easier 
to disapprove than to disprove ; for the latter one must 
know, for the former one need only feel. The unhappy 
result of this irritation appears in the bitter and scornful 
tone in which the liberal theologians wrote. By faults of 
manner, and a too obvious willingness to startle their 
opponents, they threw away their case. In their unguarded, 
sometimes unwarranted, assaults on established ideas they 


only remembered that they would fain be the champions 
of liberty of discussion. 

The two men of this school who were the most prominent 
at this time were eager for truth, and willing to sacrifice 
themselves for it: it is hard not to sympathise with 
them, though we feel that their enthusiasm, and the 
opposition they encountered, threw them off their balance 
and marred their work. Emancipators must give and 
take wild blows. It seemed to them that truth was being 
lost behind screens and barriers, and, in the assault on 
these, it looked as if they were attacking the truth which 
lies behind. One has to be careful to give them credit 
for their high aims, and at the same time to make 
allowance for the terror they aroused. No party comes 
out of the strife with honours unblemished; the general 
verdict, after thirty years, is that both sides made blunders 
in the conflict. We have re-learnt the priceless lesson that 
our Church has room within her walls for men of very 
different types ; for a large liberty of opinion ; for a wise 
freedom in usages. We have learnt, too, how to deal 
charitably with our neighbour's views, and to aim at 
adapting the Church to the necessities of successive s^es. 
Bishop Harold Browne was among the most important 
of the contributors to this happy result. His share in the 
controversies of the period was always marked by genuine, 
true Christian feeling, and by a desire for fairness of treat- 
ment as beautiful as rare in those angry days. 

I have ventured to select his successor at Lampeter, 
Mr. Rowland Williams, as the representative of the temper 
of mind and thought which found expression in " Essays 
and Reviews " ; and the other name can be no other than 
that of Dr. Colenso, Bishop of Natal, around whom raged 
a wild strife of almost unequalled bitterness. The assailants 
of established views seemed at times quite as much pre- 


judiced on the side of novelty as their antagonists were 
for the old ways. If some of the combatants were con- 
vinced that orthodoxy, without either knowledge or charity, 
was a sufficient panoply, others were ready to believe that 
to be orthodox was simply to be wrong, and were at no 
pains to hide their scorn for antagonists who did not 
understand the subjects on which they dogmatised. A 
bold face often bears down a modest spirit. 

"Essays and Reviews," which in its day created so 
great an excitement in the religious world, appeared early 
in 1 860. The seven contributors joined in an Advertisement, 
in which they laid it down that, while all the contributors 
had a common aim, "to encourage the free handling of 
religious topics in a becoming spirit of truth," each was to 
be held responsible for his own Essay only. The " common 
aim " was to arouse a spirit of enquiry, and to deem no 
matter too sacred for criticism. It was rather hard for them 
to avoid being regarded as responsible for one another's 
statements ; for they were at one in wishing to arouse 
men's minds — some more, some less ; all agreed to eschew 
conventional views on even the most essential points. No 
wonder that an attempt was presently made to fasten the 
odium of certain crude speculations found in one or two 
of the Essays on the backs of all the members of the 
company. The mass of the clergy, frightened and uncon- 
vinced, soon began to clamour for the condemnation of 
the "Septem contra Christum," as a scornful opponent 
called them, parodying -^schylus ; and the conduct of the 
attack was not a whit less violent, in its way, than had 
been the conduct of the vulgar mob at St. George's-in-the- 
East, or at St. Barnabas', Pimlico. They used language 
naively echoed by Canon Perry, when he writes that the 
volume was "not so much a danger to the faith, as a 
grievous offence on the part of the authors ; " they called 


on the seven to resign their positions in the Church, and 
to brand themselves as traitors ; they called on Convocation 
to condemn them and the book. A swarm of more or 
less ephemeral replies issued from the Press ; some even 
of the most thoughtful and liberal of the bishops were 
very severe on the Essayists. The learned Bishop of 
St David's condemned them in no measured terms ; the 
Bishop of Oxford, S. Wilberforce, led the assault in the 
Upper House of Convocation ; Bishop Hampden, to the 
astonishment of those who had fought against his election 
as Bishop of Hereford, clamoured for the prosecution of 
the writers : the general feeling was, as Canon Perry 
phrases it, that they were " traitors to be punished rather 
than fair disputants to be answered." True, the manner 
of the writers was as unfortunate as their matter was 
alarming ; yet nothing can justify the blind fury with 
which they were attacked, and the studied insults heaped 
on them. 

The Houses of Convocation showed far more moderation 
of tone and more sense of the proprieties of religious 
controversy than was pleasing to the crowd. The Upper 
House replied with gravity and good sense to an Address 
signed by ten thousand clergymen, reserving judgment, 
while it regretted the publication of the volume. In the 
Lower House, moved by Archdeacon Denison, a " grava- 
men " was drawn up and presented to the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, praying for a committee to formulate a case 
against the volume. This was agreed to by the Upper 
House ; a committee of the Lower House was accordingly 
appointed, and Archdeacon Denison became chairman 
of it. 

In spite of the activity of the Archdeacon, who drew 
up an analysis of the volume, in order to show the evil 
that was in it, and especially to make, if he could, the 


several authors responsible for the statements of each, the 
committee did nothing. Suits had been instituted against 
two of the writers in the Arches Court, and till these were 
settled Convocation thought it wiser not to intervene. It 
was not till June 1861 that the two Houses were free to 
condemn the volume, and did so. The case before the 
Court lingered on, with an appeal to the Judicial Com- 
mittee of the Privy Council; it was not till February 
8th, 1864, that that body, while refusing to pronounce 
any opinion on the design and general tendency of the 
" Essays," declared that no technical contradiction of the 
Thirty-Nine Articles or of the formularies of the Church of 
England had been proved, and so, reversing the judgment 
of the Court below, reinstated the two writers in their 

Professor Browne's share in this acute controversy was 
straightforward and simple. He met the negative tenden- 
cies of the book with a well-reasoned and temperate 
statement* of the orthodox views ; and here his stores of 
learning and fairness of mind gave him a great advantage. 
He spoke of the subject in a genial and even friendly 
spirit. At the time of the highest excitement, in Decem- 
ber 1 86 1, his eldest son, Harold, who was then at school 
at Rugby under Dr. Temple, won a Divinity prize; and 
Professor Browne, writing to a friend, says : — 

" Harold got the second Divinity prize. Divinity at 
Rugby does not of necessity = heresy, for whoever ex- 
amined him, I coached him. By the way, did you ever 
hear the question put by an Oxford to a Cambridge man, 
* I say, is not one of your ^^ pokers " a great coach ? ' Can you 
translate it?" 

Soon after this incident he addressed a charming letter 
on the controversy to Canon Cook of Exeter, with whom 
he was on intimate terms of friendship, literary and 


personal. The Canon had been attacked, and chained 
with too great liberalism in dealing with the volume ; and 
Professor Browne writes : — 

" Such censure cannot be of the slightest consequence to 
yourself, but it is a sign of most evil omen to the Church, 
when those who profess to be her champions imagine that 
the cause of truth is promoted by bitterness of tone and 
arbitrary dogmatism." 

And yet he felt acutely the faults of the Essayists, and 
bitterly deplored their tone and conclusions. He was 
prepared to do all in his power to counteract the tendency 
of the volume, and to express, with convincing argument 
and learning, his disagreement with the authors. His 
first contribution to the controversy took the somewhat 
cumbrous form of a course of sermons preached in the 
University Pulpit, and afterwards published in a thin 
volume. In a letter to a friend (dated May i6th, 1862) he 
describes his object. 

" I am glad you approve of my sermons on the Messianic 
prophecies. They receive the approbation of your Bishop 
and of many scholars and divines ; but I doubt if they will 
circulate greatly, simply because they are sermons, I am 
surprised to hear that you think the subject not one of 
general interest. I should have thought it at all times a 
subject of universal and deep interest : and at this moment 
the fierce assaults of the Essayists on the Prophecies, their 
denial of the existence of prediction at all in the Old 
Testament, and especially of predictions of Messiah, ought 
to make it a subject of special importance. In short, if 
Bunsen and Rowland Williams be right, that there is no 
such thing as predictive prophecy, I do not see on what 
principle Christianity can be defended. It was from this 
feeling that I wrote and preached, viz., that this was now 
the point in dispute between believers and unbelievers." 

At the time that Professor Browne penned these some- 
what despondent words, he was overwhelmed with sorrow ; 


for he had just lost a little babe, taken from them in May 
1862, and was full of anxiety for the safety of his beloved 

A few months after the publication of " Essays and 
Reviews " we find an invitation addressed to Professor 
Browne from Dr. Thomson (then Provost of Queen's 
College, Oxford, afterwards Archbishop of York), asking 
him to write the essay on Inspiration in a volume to be 
entitled " Aids to Faith." Professor Browne, although his 
hands were very full of University work, did not decline 
the proffered task and honour. He was pleased with the 
scheme, and with the views of Dr. Thomson ; he also 
wished to present the current theory as to Inspiration in 
a calm and moderate manner ; he therefore accepted the 
call, and set himself to the difficult task of writing a clear 
statement on the subject. 

In "Essays and Reviews," the two papers which had 
appeared to cut most deeply into the body of orthodox 
theology were that on Miracles, by Mr. Baden Powell, and 
that by Mr. Jowett on the difficulties and discrepancies of 
Scripture. Against Mr. Baden Powell, Mr. Mansel wrote 
an ingenious if unconvincing Essay on Miracles ; and, in 
defence of Scripture, Mr. Harold Browne was pitted against 
the other Essayist He defines the objects of " Aids to 
Faith "to be— 

" to aid weak faith, to help doubting and distressed minds. 
Anything like strong dogmatic statements would only 
repel such. We were not fighting against the heresies 
and infidelity of * Essays and Reviews,' but trying to help 
those who were puzzled, and the like of them." 

He adds : — 

" I was asked in the middle of July to write it by the 
1st of September (1862). I did so in the midst of much 
other labour, and felt much dissatisfied with it, not as 



regards its principles, but its mode of working out its 
purpose. But that purpose was to prove to doubting minds 
that, whatever difficulties might occur to them as to degrees 
and modes of Inspiration, and many other incidental ques- 
tions, still there was abundant proof of a special miraculous 
and infallible Inspiration of Holy Scripture. This is 
enough to prove that Holy Scripture is an infallible 
depository of religious truth. Everything else is but 
secondary. I had no call to define dogmatically; but 
if it had been otherwise, I am much disposed to think that 
in the present state of things, when the Church has never 
defined the nature of Inspiration and the Scripture speaks 
but generally on it, he must be a very rash man who would 
venture to lay down definite rules, and to excommunicate 
those who will not abide by them." 

Modest and unambitious words these, which while they 
mark the moderate tendencies of his mind, explain also 
why the essay fails to solve the very intricate problems 
with which it deals. For he aimed not so much at a new 
or scientific theory of inspiration, as at such arguments 
as might reassure anxious souls, disquieted by the rough 
treatment of what they had hitherto been content to take 
on trust. It is very interesting to see in this same letter, 
written from Cambridge, a note of the theological charac- 
teristics of his surroundings. 

"My belief is that this University has been preserved 
from danger of Romanism, and I trust also from danger 
of Rationalism, by the general prevalence amongst us of 
a liberal and forbearing spirit. We have not been wholly 
free from oscillation, but, on the whole, for the last thirty 
years we have been free from violent party spirits, and, in 
the main, sound in the faith of the Church of Christ, the 
Church of our Fathers." 

Here we have a just statement of Professor Browne's 
own position in these stormy days. Oxford, with her 
acuteness of criticism, her active spirit of enquiry, was ever 
throwing out new theories of life and faith, setting in 


motion one theological party after another, generating heat 
and motion, and taking the lead with all the ideas which 
have influenced thoughtful men in England during this 
present century ; her ablest sons have often heartened up 
the Church of England with fresh ideals and hopes of a 
noble future. On the other hand, the tendency of C ambridge 
teaching and thinking has been to draw men into a more 
placid middle course ; and while her great school of 
theolc^y has far surpassed all Oxford efforts in everything 
that concerns solid learning and scholarship, it has fallen 
behind its rivals in stimulating power. Professor Harold 
Browne combined the learning and general power, the 
moderation and courteous charity, which one seems to 
feel and breathe as one passes through the streets of 
Cambridge, or sits a guest within the walls of her magni- 
ficent Colleges. 

Mr. Browne's Essay on Inspiration, then, is addressed 
not to the free-thinker, or to the exponent of new theories, 
but to anxious and religious minds puzzled or frightened 
by these new views. He does not touch any prior question 
as to the existence of Inspiration. He first assumes 
that God, the Divine Spirit, has spoken to mortal man, 
and asks only. In what way? with what limitations? Is 
there an actual inbreathing of knowledge, a direct afflatus ? 
or has the Holy Spirit, by raising man, given him more 
sight and more insight? Next, the Essay sketches the 
history of the subject, as shown in Jewish and Christian 
thought ; it recognises no Divine message save in the 
Bible. It then deals briefly with certain views on the 
subject : first, with that propounded by S. T. Coleridge, and 
developed by Mr. Maurice ; here Mr. Browne shows some 
suspicion as to the view that poets and artists are in a 
degree inspired, and seems inclined to limit the function of 
inspiration to what is contained in that phrase of a Collect 


which prays that "by God's Holy Spirit we may think 
those things that be good " ; a kind of moral guidance into 
all truths bearing on the conduct of life. Mr. Morell's 
" Philosophy of Religion " is next passed under review. 
Then, as becomes a Cambridge thinker, he treats of Paley's 
bold argument, assuming nothing, and building up the 
faith on foundations which would be accepted by unbelievers, 
with a characteristic warning that "definite theories of 
Inspiration are doubtful and dangerous" ; there is a human 
element and a Divine element, — who shall define their exact 
relations? In fine, he is content to sum it up in this: 
" Granted a God, then Miracle is not merely possible, 
but probable ; and Inspiration may be classed among God's 
miracles of mercy towards mankind." 

Such an essay might, from its devoutness and clearness, 
appease many a doubt in pious souls ; it did not aim at 
advancing the theory of the subject, or at converting the 
unbeliever. We miss the living interest in the subject 
displayed, some years before, by Dr. Pusey, when he speaks 
of the way in which St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans was 
written. " St. Paul," he says, " before he wrote must have 
frequently taught and written on the great point of doctrine, 
not as a mere machine, but as one whose understanding 
was enlightened ; and then, with this illumination of the 
soul upon him, summed up his inspired thoughts in the letter 
to his converts." Yet Mr. Browne was not so narrow as his 
great contemporary, who, when suspected of German theo- 
logical leanings, in 1828, wrote that he did "not essentially 
differ from those who regard it (Inspiration) as dictation." 

The whole controversy is now a thing of the past. The 
two volumes, " Essays and Reviews " and " Aids to Faith," 
slumber peacefully side by side on many a theologian's 
shelves, and men have learnt to treat their Bibles with 
more discerning reverence, and to recognise, as Mr. Browne 


desired that they should, the Divine wisdom contained in 
earthen vessels ; nor do faithful Christians any longer 
shut their eyes to the evidences of human weakness, which 
are as little able to shake our faith in the Divine message 
as a soiled dress can hide the life within its folds ; the one 
is as little essential as the other. For God ever speaks to 
man through man's imperfect nature. 

Professor Browne's article in " Aids to Faith " was so 
temperate that to some keen-nosed Churchmen there 
seemed to be in it a whiff of dangerous tolerance. Bishop 
Thirlwall alludes to certain growls of dissatisfaction. 

" I am grieved to learn that the moderation and candour 
which you showed in your contribution to the * Aids to 
Faith ' have exposed you to attack as ultra-liberal. ... It 
is a sign of most evil omen to the Church when those 
who profess to be her champions imagine that the cause 
of truth is promoted by bitterness of tone and arbitrary 

The angry feeling aroused by " Essays and Reviews " 
was still warm when a new alarm arose. When the history 
of the influence of the American and Colonial Churches 
on the Mother Church is written, it will be seen that the 
outburst of literary and theological zeal in Natal did more 
to ascertain and settle the relations of Colonial Dioceses 
to one another, to their metropolitans, and, above all, to 
the Patriarchal See of Canterbury, than to influence the 
general current of thought, or to secure any advance 
in theological study. That these shocks to established 
beliefs are wholesome in the end anyone will allow who 
understands the way in which the spirit of Christian faith 
tends to evaporate while the organism of a Church seems 
still to live. No faith is worth much which cannot stand 
attack. The Church may indeed be semper eadem ; but 


she is, and must be always, the same with a difference. 
She must adapt her framework, methods of action, points 
of view, insistence on doctrine, now to one phase of the 
world's growth, now to another. At the time of Bishop 
Colenso's appearance on the scene, the receptive capacity 
of Churchmen had been very seriously taxed ; and he 
unfortunately mixed much that was crude with much that 
was shrewd. Like the Essayists, he showed more anger 
against conventional theology than enthusiasm for the 
Gospel. He also used great boldness of enquiry without 
a corresponding training in the principles of theological 
controversy, or the laws of evidence, or the details of 
linguistic knowledge. 

The position taken up by Professor Browne was twofold 
and interesting. The Colenso excitement began while he 
was still Norrisian Professor; and he grappled at once 
with what appeared to him to be the Bishop's erroneous 
opinions as to the credibility of the early books of the Old 
Testament; and, incidentally, as to the doctrine of Our 
Lord's Divine Person and knowledge. But before the 
controversy had advanced very far, Mr. Browne was made 
Bishop of Ely, and this synchronised with the constitutional 
development of the strife in South Africa. The startled 
world of religious people now saw that the champion who 
had contended so well with the pen against the Bishop 
of Natal's opinions now seemed anxious to protect him 
in the Upper House of Convocation. In the desire to 
vindicate orthodoxy Convocation overlooked the other 
side of the struggle; only a few cooler heads hesitated 
to make the English Church ratify all the acts of the 
Bishop of Cape Town. The whole controversy tended to 
help forward the deliverance of Colonial Churches from 
State establishment and interference ; it also seemed not 
unlikely to weaken the direct relation between the Colonial 


Bishops and the mother See of Canterbury. A man so 
jealous for the Anglican Church and the authority of the 
home Episcopate as Harold Browne was could not but 
look with disfavour on the bold steps taken at Cape 

When in 1853 Bishop Gray had selected Mr. Colenso 
for the bishopric of Natal, he rejoiced greatly in his 
chcMce, seeing the daily growth of the Christian faith in 
Natal. Colenso, for several years, did earnest and en- 
lightened work in his diocese. No man has ever seen 
more clearly the importance of the Church's influence 
among the natives. He was the disinterested friend and 
champion of the black race. He founded stations, in 
which the natives were encouraged to settle under the 
protection of the missionaries ; he worked hard at 
the Zulu language, and laid the foundations of a South 
African literature by creating a Zulu dictionary, being 
eager to reach the hearts of his black flock through their 
own language ; he endeavoured to adapt the services 
of the English Church to the rudimentary state of belief 
and knowledge in which even the most advanced of his 
native converts must long remain. But ere long Bishop 
Gray began to take alarm. Some of the Bishop of 
NataFs English helpers proved ill-fitted for the work ; 
some of his changes in the Liturgy were bold, and might 
be dangerous; at any rate, they were introduced on his 
sole authority ; in some respects he seemed too ready to 
comply (as in the case of polygamist converts) with nadve 
prejudices. In a letter which Bishop Gray wrote in 1856, 
expressing his anxiety on the points mentioned above, 
he ends by saying that " if he will only learn caution and 
deliberation this will do no harm. His fine, generous, and 
noble character will triumph over all difficulties." 

This very frankness and earnestness, coupled with a 


fearless love of truth, and a desire to present Christianity 
in the simplest and most intelligible manner to the native 
converts, carried Bishop Colenso forward with dangerous 
rapidity. Early in 1861, Bishop Gray gives voice to his 
anxieties, which were not without foundation. 

" The Bishop of Natal," he says, " is a very wilful, head- 
strong man, and loose, I fear, in his opinions on vital 
points. We shall have," he adds, " to fight, for revelation, 
inspiration, the atonement, and every great truth of Chris- 
tianity before long " 

Before many months had passed the Bishop of Natal 
justified some of these forebodings by publishing a new 
translation, with commentary, of St. Paul's Epistle to 
the Romans; and the summer of 1862 saw the begin- 
nings of the work which created so great a stir in the 
Church at home and in South Africa— the first part of 
" The Pentateuch and the Book of Joshua critically exam- 
ined." This was followed in January 1863 by the second 
part of the work, in which the Bishop unsparingly criticises 
the sacred narrative. The outburst of feeling in England 
was very strong ; nor did Bishop Colenso's reply to the 
remonstrance of the English bishops tend to allay the 

We have seen how Mr. Browne had dealt with the earlier 
period of the strife. The work on the Pentateuch now 
brought him again into the field. He felt bound to 
dedicate all his strength and knowledge to a sound and 
temperate consideration of the important questions in- 
volved ; and in the spring of 1863 delivered and published 
five lectures on "the Pentateuch and the Elohistic Psalms" 
in direct reply to the Bishop of Natal. 

We learn how strong was his feeling on the subject 
from a brief utterance of distress and almost of despair in 



one of his letters at this time. Writing from Cambridge, 
January 19th, 1863, ^'^ says : — 

" What a sad business is Bishop Colenso's apostasy ! 
It is difficult to call it by a milder name. There is every 
appearance of a great crisis, a great conflict between faith 
and infidelity. Yet I feel hopeful of the issue ; but God 
only knows whether Antichrist with his lying wonders 
may not be permitted for a time to prevail." 

Men seemed to think that the episcopal standing of the 
offender was a great aggravation ; as if it were the special 
duty of a bishop to ask no questions and to avoid all the 
burning topics which might be warming the world around 
him. It was all the more trying and inexplicable to them 
when, a short time after, the man who had expressed 
himself so strongly against the Bishop of Natal was 
found ranging himself by the side of those three or four 
cautious prelates who aimed at seeing justice done. They 
failed to see how dangerous was the proposal to stifle all 
freedom of discussion, and knew too little about Church 
order and authority to appreciate the arguments with 
which, a little later, this little group of Bishops resisted 
the attempt to make the English Church approve all the 
violent acts of the Bishop of Cape Town. 

Professor Browne's lectures, which appeared in May 
1863, were a masterly defence of the older view of the 
relations between the early books of the Old Testament 
and the declarations of the Gospel, and formed by far the 
ablest reply to Bishop Colenso. Without softening down 
the controversy, or seeking for a middle course in it, or 
showing a moment's hesitation in pointing out where in 
his opinion the Bishop was wrong, Professor Browne 
throughout deals with his subject in a way which made 
him a model controversialist. There may be sadness in 
his tone — there is no bitterness ; he does not try to blacken 


his adversary's character, to impute to him evil motives, 
to heap on him detestable epithets. The little volume is 
carried through in the spirit of the brief introduction 
prefixed to it: — 

" I trust," he writes, " I have nowhere expressed m5rself 
with the bitterness or insolence of controversy. Deeply 
as I regret the course which the Bishop of Natal has taken, 
widely and painfully as I differ from him, I know him to 
be a man in whom there is very much to esteem, and I 
feel that he deserves all credit for his former self-denying 
labours in the cause of the Gospel." 

Well may we say with A. P. Stanley, that happy would 
be the day when controversy was carried on in the spirit 
of this volume. 

"Christ Church, Oxford, Jifay 2yd, 1863. 

"My dear Sir, — I have to thank you for your Five 
Lectures and for the courtesy with which you have quoted 
from my book. 

"Would that even a quarter of the replies to Bishop 
Colenso had been written in the spirit of kindness and 
forbearance which breathes through your pages, and what 
a different spectacle would our Church have presented — 
and what a different effect, probably, produced on him ! 

"Yours faithfully, 

"A. P. Stanley." 

The Lectures open with the most important of the 
questions raised by the Bishop of Natal, by discussing the 
nature of our Saviour's testimony to Moses, and ask 
whether we can believe that when our Lord declared that 
" Moses wrote of Him *' he did so in ignorance of the 
discovery which modern criticism has just made, that 
" Moses perhaps never lived, certainly never wrote." The 
Professor here does little more than entrench himself behind 
the Church's belief in the Divinity, and, consequently, the 
omniscience, of our Lord. He is silent on the difficult 


questions as to the effect of the Incarnation on the rela- 
tions between God and man, or as to what Scripture says 
of the limitations imposed on His human nature. The 
second Lecture deals with the striking "numerical diffi- 
culties in the history of the Exodus," making a strong 
case for the credibility of the narrative, if the supernatural 
in it be granted. The third and fourth Lectures are a 
masterly treatment, by a patient and real scholar, of 
the supposed " Jehovistic and Elohistic phenomena in the 
Pentateuch." This is perhaps the ablest portion of the 
reply ; here the Professor's academic studies and gifts 
tell most decidedly. He takes up, discusses, and over- 
throws the Bishop's arguments one by one, and turns his 
weapons on himself The last lecture is on a topic entirely 
suited to the Professor's temperament Bishop Colenso 
had charged the Law of Moses with inhumanity. Now, 
no man ever had a finer sense than Professor Browne 
had of what is due on grounds of brotherhood and 
humanity to our fellow-creatures, whether men or animals. 
His treatment, therefore, of this matter was sure to be 
just and sympathetic. The lecture, accordingly, after 
showing that the main facts stated in the history of the 
Exodus can be proved to be true, ends by elaborately 
comparing the Mosaic code of law with that of civilised 
nations in ancient and modern times. He easily proves, 
as any one conversant with the history of justice in our 
own country is aware, that the Mosaic code was far less 
severe than those of many a boasted Christian civilisation, 
«even in modern days. 

This little volume was received, as it deserved, with 
much applause and goodwill ; even those who were 
opposed to the conclusions in it were able to thank the 
author cordially for his fair and gentle spirit Some of 
the letters he received are curious and interesting. 


The Bishop of Lincoln throws a lurid light on the 
methods of controversy, and shows that not only the 
orthodox thought it safer not to read their opponents'" 
books. The " enlightened " are often quite as illiberal as 
those they oppose. 

" One of the worst features," says he, " of the prevalent 
scepticism is its unwillingness to hear and weigh both 
sides. A really scientific man of my acquaintance refused 
to read McCaul's book which I had sent him. He was 
* satisfied with Colenso, who was unanswerable.* How 
would such a reply be designated in a question of physical 
science ? " 

And, one may add, how would the man of science, whose 
special boast is the openness of his mind to argument, 
have denounced any one who refused to read his books 
or to weigh his arguments, when they ran counter to the 
opinion of the day ? 

One direct result of the publication of the five lectures 
was an invitation to Professor Browne to take part in the 
projected *^ Speaker's Commentary." The ability and 
linguistic skill of the Professor's writings marked him out 
as the man best fitted to undertake the Pentateuch. 

" Pray do not refuse," says Canon Cook ; " I cannot 
imagine a more important work, if it be well done, and 
there is no name which would give more confidence than 
yours in the most delicate and difficult part of the whole 

Harold Browne was at once attracted by this proposal^ 
regarding it as a distinct call of duty ; he liked the 
thought of a group of careful and moderate Churchmen 
uniting to elucidate the Scriptures ; he regarded the re- 
newed interest in the Bible as a hopeful sign, and wished 
that the revealed bases of our religion should be handled 
in such a way as both to win back those who had been 


alienated and to strengthen those who still held to them : 
the Commentary should aim at being clear, simple, explana- 
tory, without entering into abstruse questions or even 
directly answering attacks. As he used to say that the 
best Church Defence was the strength which comes of doing 
one's duty, so here he held that the best defence of the Bible 
lay in an intelligent and reasonable use of it as the guide 
of life. He therefore agreed to take part in the work ; and 
in a letter to Lord Arthur Hervey, afterwards Bishop of 
Bath and Wells, he shows with how keen an interest he 
■entered into even the details of the scheme. 

" The Close, Exeter, July 4/A, 1863. 

"My dear Lord, — I do not know whether you may 
have heard that Murray is proposing to publish a Com- 
mentary on the S.S. in six volumes. The scheme was 
started, I believe, by the Archbishop of York, the Speaker, 
and some other eminent clergymen and laymen. Mr. 
Cook, Preacher at Lincoln's Inn, is to be the general 
Editor. Each section (such as the Pentateuch, the his- 
torical books, the poetical books, the major prophets, the 
minor prophets, the gospels, the Pauline epistles, etc.) is 
to have a separate editor. The New Testament will be in 
the hands of Professors Jeremie, Jacobson, Mansel, Bishop 
Ellicott, and Dean Trench, I believe. I have been pressed 
into the service as editor of the Pentateuch and writer of 
the commentary on Genesis, — certainly the post of danger, 
though perhaps the post of honour too. It was so urged 
on me that I could hardly refuse it I trust a strength 
greater than my own may support me ; for I feel very 
•doubtful of my own qualifications in any way. But enough 
of this. 

" Your Lordship's name has been mentioned to me by 
Mr. Cook in connection with the Book of Deuteronomy. 
I can say most truly that I shall be heartily thankful if 
you will undertake it. It is rendered doubly important 
now by Colenso's attack on it in his third part. Your 
learning, soundness and yet liberality, qualify you for it 
very signally. 

The plan is to print in octavo. About equal parts of 


text and commentary, or text : commentary : : 2 : 3. 
The Commentary to be critical in its basis, but popular in 
its form, giving such explanations as any sensible fairly- 
educated layman may require and be satisfied with ; any- 
thing like philology, eta, being put in an appendix. 

'' Murray is very liberally disposed, so that there is no 
difficulty in getting help or buying books. He proposes 
to pay ;£^20 for sixteen pages of notes, or perhaps, say, 
about £1 2l page, as Mr. Cook thinks it may be safer to 
leave a margin, and not to count on the full ;6^20. The 
work is to be done and ready, f>., written and read by the 
respective editors, by October ist, 1864. 

" If you have Doyley and Mant, you will find a page 
beginning Genesis xxii. 19 and ending xxiii. 10. That 
page, text and notes, nearly represents a specimen page 
which I saw set up at Murray's. I think Murray's octavo 
page contained a little less than Doyley and Mant's quarto 
p3^e ; and it was only printed as a trial. The recent 
attack on Scripture and the consequent alarm produced 
in many minds have suggested this work. 

"The whole work is to be printed in six volumes of 
about six hundred pages each, at 149. a volume, it is 
hoped. I suppose we shall be allowed one volume for the 
Pentateuch, but I am not certain about that I sincerely 
hope that you will think favourably of the request I now 
forward to you. I do not know whether Mr. Cook means 
to write also, but he empowered me to open negotiations 
with you. The other contributors at present proposed for 
the Pentateuch are Mr. Thrupp and Mr. J. J. Stewart 
Perowne. The other editors for the Old Testament are 
Jeremie, Professor Selwyn, Mr. Cook, Dr. McCaul, and 
Professor Lightfoot. 

"Yours faithfully, 

"E. Harold Browne." 

Before this work could even be begun, Professor Harold 
Browne had been named Bishop of Ely. And yet he was 
one of the first to be ready with his portion of the Com- 
mentary. No man ever worked harder or more rapidly 
than he did ; so that, though 1864 was a year crammed 
full of new work, he still succeeded in grappling with the 
Book of Genesis, until early in autumn 1864 he sent to 


the general Editor, Canon Cook, a substantial portion of 
his share.' 

*' Exeter, September izth^ 1864. 

"My dear Bishop, — I am delighted to have your 
Commentary : it is not a bit too long, and cramfuU of the 
best things said in the best way. If you do not object 
I will have it set up at once and sent to all our fellow- 
labourers. I am quite in good heart now. If you can get 
your part done (and you have fairly broken the neck of it) 
no one has an excuse for delay. Thrupp will get on fast 
enough. I will get Pascoe to send a specimen to you 
soon. Rawlinson will be ready within a reasonable time. 
I shall have Job ready by the early spring, and be far 
advanced with my portion of the Psalms. Plumptre is sure 
to finish Proverbs, and has already sent me a considerable 
instalment well executed. Birks is getting on fast with 
Isaiah, and has sent the notes on twelve chapters. I have 
no doubt that the Old Testament will be in print within 
two years, and that we shall have enough to satisfy all 
reasonable people before the end of '65. 

I expect much delay about the New Testament, but 
when the writers see the other part advancing, they will be 
stirred to emulation, and I shall take care to have a good 
specimen from a first-rate hand as soon as possible. 

"Yours sincerely, 

" F. C. Cook." 



THE fruitful years during which Mr. Browne was 
Norrisian Professor at Cambridge and Vicar of 
Kenwyn were days of incessant work and much anxiety. 
With a large and growing family ; with a very liberal heart, 
as of a man who cared little for money and was eager to 
do kind acts to all around him ; with two homes to keep 
up, and frequent journeys to make ; it is not strange that 
he found himself much straitened, and was tempted to 
undertake more work than his strength justified. In those 
clashing days the Norrisian Professor was inevitably 
sucked into the fray. He now also felt the deepest 
anxiety for his poor invalid daughter, who was becoming 
ever more and more helpless. There is no telling how 
much ripening and strengthening of Christlike love and 
patience came to him and his from this permanent source 
of anxiety. " Pm sure," cries sympathetic Reginald Barnes, 
at that time one of the Kenwyn curates, " that her life has 
been made a blessing to them, in calling out their patience 
and constant care." 

Other matters also occupied his thoughts. His anxieties 
over the education of his boys are shewn in a letter he 
wrote to Mr. James, who had undertaken to guide the 
early studies of the eldest son, Harold, then about eleven 
years old. When Mr. James found it no longer possible 


Ch.IIL] UFE and work in CAMBRIDGE, 1853—1864. 225 

to be both curate and tutor, the question of a school 
became pressing. We are so content with our public school 
system — and, with all its drawbacks, there is so much to be 
said for it — that Professor Browne's strong dislike of it 
strikes us with surprise, as something quite unexpected 
in an Eton man. The immense improvement in school 
life was perhaps not recognised everywhere, and perhaps 
the memory of his own easy-going days at Eton made 
him unwilling to submit his sons to influences which had 
interfered, he thought, so seriously with his own progress 
in after-life. That education at home has its own distinct 
advantages is quite true ; these advantages, however, 
obviously have to be set against distinct disadvantages. 
The intermediate course is that of day-school education, 
in which boys are educated in community, while they 
retain the benefits of home. This system has had to face 
all the resistance of old school and family tradition, and 
it is only now, thanks to the rapid improvement and spread 
of day-schools and to the aggregation of the English 
people in towns with their children to be taught, that this 
type of education is forcing itself into its true position. 
Professor Browne's own sympathies were with the older 
or ' Public ' schools, yet he shrank from submitting his sons 
to their influences. Consequently, Harold, the eldest boy, 
was kept at home as long as possible, although his father 
was not able himself to supervise his education. By 1855, 
however, the problem had begun to take more urgent 
form. Harold was now old enough to mix with his fellows 
and to get advantJ^e from the larger life of school. And 
yet the following letter shews how much Mr. Browne 
shrank from exposing a shy retiring boy to risks, and how 
anxious he was as to the right course. The question of 
the narrow purse was also a very important matter, as the 
following extract shows : — 



" I need not be ashamed to add that I cannot afford to 
send my boy to a good school. If possible, I should 
reduce my present expenses very considerably; but my 
poor little girl renders that almost impossible. Two nurses 
and a horse and carriage are scarcely enough to attend 
on her, and her troubles give occupation to the whole 
household. I am therefore obliged to keep an establish- 
ment far larger and more expensive than I can afford." 

This, however, was not what pressed most on his atten- 
tion. In a letter to Mr. James, written from Cambridge, 
February 24th, 1853, he discloses freely and frankly his 
view as to the risks of school life. 

" The conviction," he says, " of a quarter of a centur>% 
has never with me given way for a moment, namely, that 
schools are nurseries of evil, especially for young boys. 
If I could afford to send Harold to a public school, which 
is utterly impossible at present, I should not do so, on the 
ground I have stated; and private schools are generally 
admitted, even by the advocates of school education, to 
be, for the most part, if not universally, very bad places. 
I am perfectly aware that I am by my own system 
.[/>. by educating his son at home, with help from one of 
his curates] not advancing my boy's prospects of success in 
the world, as no doubt school is the best place to learn. 
But as I believe it is also the most certain place in this 
wicked world to learn wickedness, I therefore believe that 
I am consulting his eternal good, if not his temporal. In 
the many conversations I have had with advocates for 
school education, I have never yet met with one who 
would deny the imminent, and almost inevitable, danger 
to young boys of receiving moral injury from going to 
school. I am not prepared to deny that at fourteen or 
fifteen a school well conducted may be a desirable place. 
But the strongest argument I have heard in favour of 
public schools at all, is that if a boy gets well through a 
public school, he is proof against every other danger, as 
that is the greatest to which he can be expos«i. I 
heard the argument used by a clever person a few days 
ago. And is it really right to expose young children to 
the greatest spiritual danger which human nature can 
encounter ? 


"My own experience of home education has been 
favourable ; for I know, or have known, a great many 
men, brought up strictly at home, who have turned out 
the very best specimens of Christian gentlemen. 

" I could very much wish that my boys could never 
associate with any boys who have been at school at all. 
Indeed, I do not let them mix much with any schoolboys — 
and when they do mix with them, I hope it is mostly in 
active games and amusements ; and I seldom fear evil 
when boys work hard or play hard. But I should be 
very rejoiced, if it were possible, that they should only 
associate with boys who had never been at school at all." 

The close of this severe indictment against Public 
Schools will come as a surprise to many who knew the 
Bishop as a genuine public-school man ; one of those 
who, in thoughts, bearing, and in all that makes up social 
position, belonged to that somewhat exclusive fragment 
of English society which regards the Public School as 
an established institution not so much for education, as 
for the equipment of young men in all the necessary 
furnishings of the English gentleman. The truth is that, 
as years went on, and his bright sons grew up around him, 
Mr. Browne became more and more .sensitive as to the 
all-important questions of morality, and grew unwilling 
to expose his boys to influences through which he himself 
had indeed safely passed, but which might easily prove 
fatal to a young lad's character. Yet after all, in spite 
of his most natural anxieties, Mr. Browne in the end sent 
his boys to school ; and they came back to him, first from 
Twyford, and then from Rugby, strengthened in mind 
and character, and fitted for their work in life. 

In addition to his work at Cambridge and Kenwyn, 
Professor Browne was always a most zealous and interested 
supporter of everything which would tend to the expansion 
and development of the Church of England. During these 
years we have evidence of his strong interest in Missions, 


and in the work of tlie Anglo-Continental Society. We 
shall see how throughout his life these objects occupied 
his thoughts and tinged his prayers and elicited his 
heartiest efforts. A letter dated Cambridge, November 
27th, 1854, indicates this tendency of his mind, while it 
also shows us the innate modesty which forbade him to 
think that he might himself become the influential leader 
of religious opinion in Cambridge ; his many engage- 
ments and duties hindered him from taking that leading 
place which he might have held with great benefit to 
the younger generations of University men. The Univer- 
sities are not easily moved and won. The undergraduates, 
who are a world to themselves, make their own heroes 
after their own fashion ; the men who influence them — 
and they are few and far between — are either bold and 
original-minded champions of some new phase of religious 
or philosophical faith, or, on the other hand, quiet, earnest, 
sympathetic persons, who attract to their side successive 
generations of religious lads. And the men who affect 
the currents of thought and opinion among the seniors, are 
usually those who have continued long in the University, 
with a tone of mind superior to the somewhat carping 
criticism of Common-room society. Though in many 
respects Professor Browne was eminently well fitted to 
occupy this position, he lacked time and leisure, and, 
perhaps still more, the ambition which loves to call the 
listening crowd around a man's chair. 

" The Bishop of New Zealand has been here," he writes, 
^* preaching and speaking with marvellous power. I fear 
he leaves us to-morrow. Cambridge appears to me to 
want a helmsman very much just now. Professor Blunt 
had immense influence for good a short time since ; I fear 
it is a little loosened now. Partly perhaps that he is 
older, and a race has risen up that knows not Joseph 
as he was in his vigour ; but more, it may be, because 

Ill,] LIFE AND IVORK IN CAMBRIDGE, 1853— 1864. 229 

he is not quite up to the age. The theology of the day- 
is not the theology of fifteen years ago. High Churchmen 
are still High Churchmen, taken out with a difference. 
I fear, if a clever Germaniser came among us, he would 
take many captive at his will. As it is we have no such, 
happily, to take a lead." 

It was during the stirring years of this decade, in 
which England's horizon of interests, political, commercial, 
religious, seemed to be daily growing wider, that Professor 
Browne became the leading spirit in the Anglo-Continental 
Society. The sympathies of the average Englishman are 
not easily excited on behalf of foreign Churches or distant 
efforts for a reform in religious faith and usage : we know 
little about the ways of thought, the aims, the difficulties, 
of earnest people in other lands, and find it very hard to 
overcome the barrier of our insularity ; it is also true that 
the very moderation of the position taken up by Professor 
Browne and his friends repelled the more ardent spirits. 
The Anglo-Continental Society has never been largely 
supported, although for about thirty years it has been 
engaged on a very interesting effort; the Church gene- 
rally has shewn it little favour ; few have cared to 
proclaim to the world that the Anglican Liturgy, the 
Anglican Episcopacy, and Anglican Divinity steer the 
level middle course. On both sides, within the Church, 
men looked shyly on the Society ; some because they cared 
little about Christian uniformity and were content with 
more general views as to Christian unity ; others, because 
they were suspicious of claims which seemed to them to 
deny the Protestantism of the English Reformed Church, 
and because they were afraid of Rome ; others again, 
because they did not think the Society friendly enough 
towards the unreformed Churches. From one cause or 
another, this Society has had a hard course to steer, espe- 


cially when appealed to on behalf of men struggling to 
release themselves from the rule of the Roman Church. It 
has had to diffuse knowledge about the English Church 
without proselytising ; it has had to reconcile two hostile 
principles, the one involving opposition to the dominant 
theology of Rome, the other endeavouring to shew to the 
Roman Obedience that the English Church is orthodox, 
duly constituted, and in all respects a Church, and that 
this Church above all things desires to recognise and be 
recognised by other Churches, even if they do not agree 
with her on every point. The Society was also anxious 
to befriend all those who struggled to reform the Roman 
Church, and those whom the Vatican Decrees had driven 
out of her pale. 

The Society sprang out of a visit paid by two clergy- 
men, brothers, to Spain in the year 1853 : James Meyrick, 
Fellow of Queens*, and Frederick Meyrick, Fellow of 
Trinity, Oxford, now Rector of Blickling in Norfolk ; both 
moderate High Churchmen, They were much struck with 
the ignorance of Spaniards as to the very existence 
of the English Church. We English people always are 
astonished if inhabitants of other countries do not know all 
about us and our institutions, and comfort ourselves with 
the belief that if they had our Constitution and our Church 
all would be well. These two clever and earnest men 
became more and more convinced, as they mixed with the 
Spaniards, that if they knew more about the English 
Church it would shew them how to compass a conservative 
reform in their own Church, to clear away corrupt usages 
and extreme doctrines and superstitions, and to make 
them, without organic convulsion, a Reformed branch of 
the Church Catholic. 

On returning home, the Meyricks founded a little Society 
for the purpose of opening friendly communications with 

III.] LIFE AND JVORK IN CAMBRIDGE, 1853— 1864. 23 1 

the Churchmen of Spain and of other countries, as occasion 
might serve ; and appealed to English Churchmen for help 
in making better known abroad the principles, the doctrines, 
the discipline, organisation, and position of the Church of 

This Society must be carefully distinguished from the 
" Association for the Promotion of the Unity of Christen- 
dom," which came into being about the same time. The 
two were from the outset antagonistic. The Anglo-Con- 
tinental Society was based entirely on Anglican principles, 
and aimed at persuading Churchmen in all parts of the 
world to return from mediaevalism to primitive doctrine ; 
it set its face against proselytism, and hoped for internal 
reformation. The other Society seemed more inclined to 
seek for peace as a suppliant to Rome, and to abandon the 
independent claims and position of the English Church. 
Consequently, the one was inclined more to work among 
the Greeks, the other rather to submit itself to the Latins. 

From the very first Mr. Browne was greatly interested 
in a movement which seemed to provide an opportunity 
for testing, in a larger arena, the soundness and force of 
Anglican principles. The Anglican Church, he hoped, 
would become the model of many a reformed Episcopal 
National Church : the Governments of Europe would look 
with favour on a movement which, by detaching the clergy 
from the obedience of Rome, would render them more 
national : it was thought that, as Hume had said, govern- 
ments would feel it their true interest to support National 
Churches, as bulwarks to thrones and institutions often 
threatened, sometimes sadly shaken. 

In 1863 another change came to Professor Browne. He 
had long felt that the charge and care of Kenwyn was too 
much for him, and that his Cambridge duties made it 
almost impossible for him to go on with both. Yet he 


clung to Kenwyn, from love of his flock, and also because^ 
in spite of the improvement of his stipend as Professor, 
his growing family made it hard for him to live within his 
income. Now, however, the repeated insistence of the 
Bishop of Exeter broke down his reluctance, and he agreed 
to make the changes necessary before he could become 
Principal of a new Exeter Theological College. 

He had no great love for such Institutions as the Bishop 
desired to see at Exeter. He thought them narrowing in 
tendency, and that their students took the stamp of some 
one leader, and stood apart from that wholesome English 
life with which the more manly and less trained clergy 
were in sympathy. He believed, in fact, that they were 
but poor substitutes for the general cultivation of the 
Universities, and regarded the system as one likely to 
hinder rather than to forward the usefulness of a parish 
clergyman. There had already been a tendency towards 
this specialised education for Orders, due partly to strong 
growths of party feeling in the Church, and partly to 
the throwing open of the Universities. There can be no 
doubt that the Bishop of Exeter's aim was to secure greater 
dogmatic unity among his clergy, and to provide them 
with weapons fit to combat the more liberal theology of 
the day. He hoped, by securing the orthodox Professor 
from Cambridge, to raise up a clergy theologically High 
Church, while he also got the credit of having placed a 
moderate and peace-loving divine at the head of his new 
College. The Royal Cornwall Gazette of June 26th, 1863, 
says that " the success of the new Theological College at 
Exeter is now generally considered to be secured by the 
appointment of Canon Browne to the office of Warden." 
This new post, an office without emolument, had been first 
filled (on Mr. Browne's refusal of it) by Dean ElHcott, 
who had vacated it on his promotion to the bishopric of 

111.] UFE AND WORK IN CAMBRIDGE, 1853-1864. 233 

Gloucester and Bristol ; then at the beginning of 1863 
the Bishop of Exeter again urged Mr. Browne to under- 
take it ; and he did so, unwillingly, yet seeing no way of 
escape. His nomination shortly after to the bishopric of 
Ely released him, and was a fatal blow to the Theological 
College as such. The Bishop of Exeter afterwards founded 
in its stead a Theological Students' Fund, to help young 
men in preparing for Orders at one of the Universities ; 
and this is still in full action. 

All through these years there seems to have been a desire 
to detach Mr. Browne from Cambridge, and to attract him 
to a permanent position in the Exeter diocese ; and in this 
the Bishop, the Dean, and the Chapter all joined. 

Early in 1857 the Chapter of Exeter oflfered him the 
vacant Vicarage of Heavitree. It was understood that this 
piece of preferment was to be the beginning of such a 
series of promotions at Exeter as might enable him to 
resign his Professorship and to devote himself entirely 
to diocesan work. It was to be followed by a Canonry 
Residentiary in the Cathedral, and, on the next vacancy, 
by the Archdeaconry of Exeter. This, however, did not 
fall in during these years, and the offer of the bishopric of 
Ely directed his steps elsewhere. A letter to Mr. James 
shews how much harassed in mind he was, and how little 
confidence he had in his own health at this time : — 

''Tk\jko, April Zth, 1857. 

" I have, from hour to hour almost, thought I might be 
able to add to my letter a statement of my own plans for 
the future. Since Christmas the Chapter and myself have 
been in brisk correspondence about Heavitree. I have 
over and over again refused it. But it has been most 
kindly pressed on me, and at length I have accepted it, 
on certain conditions which I will explain to you, though 
probably it must be in confidence. Meanwhile, and at the 
moment that Mrs. Browne had gone a hurried journey to 


see Heavitree and learn about it, it pleased God somewhat 
suddenly to call my dear suffering child to Himself. She 
was, for her, very well when her mother left home. She 
caught a cold, which seemed severe but not dangerous ; 
but suddenly it assumed a kind of quinsy or croup form, 
and terminated fatally in a few hours. The grief of 
parting was much aggravated by her mother's absence. 
But we can only, for our dear child's sake, be thankful that 
she has been called to rest, and is, we trust, in Paradise. . . . 
I said I would tell you on what conditions I am to hold 
it [Heavitree]. The Bishop and Chapter have agreed that 
the Archdeaconry of Exeter, with its Canonry, shall be 
annexed to Heavitree, permanently if possible. I believe 
the Archdeacon would, if asked, resign in my favour. He 
has often told me he would before this arrangement was 
made. But I wish to make trial of it first I do not 
know that my strength may not fail in the work of the 
parish and the climate of the West. It is therefore agreed 
between the Chapter and myself (with the Bishop's full 
approval) that I shall continue to hold my Professorship at 
present, and when the Archdeaconry falls, shall take it, 
unless I find health likely to fail, when I may resign both 
Heavitree and the Archdeaconry, with its stall. One of 
my doubts has been the propriety of giving up my Pro- 
fessorship, which is now well endowed and is a most 
influential post. However, so it stands at present 

.... I left my party pretty well at Newnham. My 
wife, my sister Maria, and poor Lane were sadly worn, but 
improving. It is a cause of great thankfulness that none 
of us died or quite broke down, before my poor little 
sufferer was called home." 

The death of his poor suffering daughter, who had never 
from her infancy known a day's good health, and was 
a very serious tie to them, was a deep sorrow. No 
one, unless he has known it himself, can realise how soon 
the very afflictions of a suffering child endear her to her 
parents ; the more helpless she is, the more care and 
thought are lavished on her, the more powerfully she en- 
twines herself round their heartstrings, the more acutely 
they feel it when God mercifully removes the poor sufferer. 

III.] UFE AND WORK IN CAMBRIDGE, 1853—1864. 235 

No sooner had Mr. and Mrs. Browne bidden a last 
farewell to their dear daughter than they had to get ready 
for their removal from Kenwyn. It was a very sad and 
painful time for them ; and the kind Professor felt the 
strain to be almost too great His letters of this period 
refer continually to the feebleness of his health ; he hardly 
seemed equal to the task of taking leave of one parish and 
entering on another. We find him, barely a fortnight 
after the death of his daughter, occupied with the arrange- 
ments for his new cure. We have a letter couched in the 
kindest terms, written from Cambridge (on April 20th, 
1857) to Mr. James, in which he doubts whether he ought 
to accept his offer to transfer himself with the Professor to 
Heavitree. Mr. Browne saw clearly that the suburban 
parish demanded robust men to work it, and as he felt 
himself far below what he could have wished in point of 
strength, he naturally felt that it would never do for all 
the staff to be weaklings. 

" Barnes," he says, " is still delicate, though better, and 
very zealous. I fear," he adds, " you are not a very strong 
man. I know I am not a very strong man, and am on the 

road to fifty I am pretty well worn out with taking 

leave at Kenwyn, where I met abundance of kindness 
and regret. Reginald Barnes and I are feeble folk." 

Again, two months later, we find him describing himself 
as very much overborne by work : — 

" I rather want help soon — I have a good deal of duty 
at the Cathedral this summer. R. Barnes goes abroad 
the end of July. We have confirmations coming on. I 
have much work for Cambridge, and am much worn with 
work at Cambridge and Kenwyn, and here, succeeding to 
the sorrow of my dear child's last sickness and death. 
Now, too, the weather in which I have had to work hard 
here is bverpoweringly hot. The parish is very pleasant, 
but it is rather too populous ; and I ought to have no 
second hard duty, as I have at Cambridge, 


" I have unfortunately to work for two duties, either of 
them more than enough for my strength. I have many 
lectures to work [at] for Cambridge, and to work in my 
parish too ; and I have not had one week without parochial 
work or University work for near four years. I am there- 
fore hoping to find a week or two to take a holiday myself 
before the summer is quite gone — I hope before my strength 
is quite gone." 

Heavitree, with Mr. Browne's other serious calls and 
duties, was really too heavy a burden ; and in truth 
he could give so little time to it, that the parish, less 
humble-minded than Kenwyn, began to grumble at a Vicar 
who was obliged to go off to preach elsewhere and to 
leave his pulpit to be filled by curates. However good 
a preacher the curate may be, the parish deems itself 
neglected if the rector is often absent ; and Mr. Browne, 
during his short tenure of this living, preached but rarely. 

" He is to return," says one of the curates, " to-morrow, 
in time for a parish dinner at the Horse and Groom. No 
very pleasant form of martyrdom for any Vicar, but for 
him especially unpleasant, as he hates public speaking, and 
as the captious part of the parish are angry at his being so 
much away from the church. He has not preached above 
seven or eight times there, as the Cathedral employed him 
during the last month, and it will take him away again for 
three weeks in September. I heartily wish he had less to 
do, but I am afraid he means to take the Cathedral work 
again next year." 

" The captious part of the parish " naturally took excep- 
tion at a Vicar whom they met on Sunday mornings, 
as they were going to church, on his way to preach 
in cathedral. In fact, Mr. Browne's stay at Heavitree 
really lasted only one Long Vacation, and during that 
time was much interrupted by other calls. Yet in this brief 
time he won the hearts of his parishioners, and was un- 
wearied in house-to-house visitation. It is clear, however. 

in.] UFE AND WORK IN CAMBRIDGE, 1853— 1864. 237 

that his Cambridge work had become more important 
than ever in his eyes ; and where a man's heart is, there 
will the best of his work be done. 

So things went on for the rest of the year 1857, till in 
December Dr. John Bull, a stout pluralist of the old school, 
resigned his stall in Exeter Cathedral. Dean Lowe at 
once wrote to Professor Browne, to say that he and the 
Chapter had decided to offer him the vacant Canonry, 
and concludes his letter (of December 12th, 1857) in these 
friendly and flattering terms : — 

" I can most truly add that it affords me the highest 
gratification to have this opportunity of marking the very 
high sense I entertain of your personal character and 
theological attainments, and of the credit which will accrue 
to the Capitular body from having your name enrolled in 
the list of its members." 

Just after Christmas, the Chapter Clerk, Mr. Ralph 
Barnes, cited Mr. Browne to appear in Chapter on Monday, 
December 28th, 1857, to pray, in the accustomed form, 
" to be admitted to the place of Residentiary now vacant" 
Very grateful he was at this release from the embarrass- 
ments of his position. 

" The difficulty of holding my office here [at Cambridge] 
with Heavitree pressed on me so heavily, and the prospect 
once held out to me seemed so distant, that I felt it would 
be almost impossible to hold on ; and God's good providence 
seems to have opened a path for me, when all seemed 

Though the resignation of Heavitree was a great relief 
at the time, the actual leisure gained appears to have been 
very small. The very next year he speaks of himself as 
being " worked off" hii. legs," and a little later, the death of 
his sister Louisa in his house at Newnham, near Cambridge 
(January 4th, 1859), added to the sense of gloom and 


almost of despondency visible in his letters ; he was over- 
worked and did too much for his delicate health. Few 
men have ever had a sounder constitution, or one more 
free from organic weaknesses ; and yet from childhood to 
old age he was ever reminded of the frail tabernacle of the 
body ; the high sense of duty and resolute spirit with 
which he faced the masses of work which accumulated 
around him, kept him always on the verge of a break-down 
in health. This is his record of himself at this time, in 
Lent 1859:— 

" I always seem to have more [to do] than I have time 
to do. At present the great number of sermons and public 
meetings I have to get through add to my labours ; Lent 
Sermons are innumerable now, and we have all sorts of 
National Society, S.P.G., etc., etc., meetings going on ; 
besides that, I have five sermons to preach as Select 
Preacher, beginning on Good Friday, which require some 
trouble to write." 

And in the same year, on Advent Sunday, he looks 
back on the past with a distinct touch of sadness : — 

" It is twenty-three years this day since Advent Sunday 
November 27th, 1836, on which day I was admitted to the 
Holy Order of Deacons. Much has passed since then, and 
many serious thoughts rise from the retrospect. In the 
great Advent hereafter I can only pray, * Per crucem et 
passionem tuam Miserere mei Domine.*" 

The truth was that he never could protect himself from 
his friends. Any one who besieged him with sufficient 
assurance could get what he wanted He would far rather 
knock himself up with over-work than give himself and 
an acquaintance the pain of a refusal. Consequently, 
every one who wanted a special sermon, or a speech at a 
meeting, or a little help in money, at once turned to 
Professor Browne and added a mite to the weight of his 
burdens. It was this very willingness and kindness which 

III.] LIFE AND WORK IN CAMBRIDGE, 1853— 1864. 239 

made people grumble at him. More selfishness, and the 
art (which comes naturally to most of us) of thinking first 
about oneself, would have saved him from many serious 
annoyances at this time, as well as from grave risks to 

A new set of critics now rose up against him, this 
time assaulting him through the public Press. While still 
at Kenwyn he had been elected Proctor in Convocation ; 
and after migrating to Heavitree continued to represent 
the diocese. Now, however, that he had entirely ceased, 
on resigning the Vicarage, to be a parochial clergyman, 
there arose a feeling that the country clergy ought not 
to be represented by one of the Cathedral body. Men 
pointed out the obvious fact that the Chapter was already 
plentifully represented in Convocation, and that therefore 
the rectors and vicars of the diocese ought not to send 
another canon as their spokesman. There can be no 
doubt that for all practical purposes the beneficed clergy 
could not have had a more admirable representative than 
Professor Browne. His learning, moderation, soundness in 
Church views, and deep interest in the consultations of 
the newly revived Convocations, fitted him perfectly for 
the post, and the country clergy would not have found it 
easy to choose a better man. Still, men of more pro- 
nounced views, one side or other, thought themselves 
aggrieved ; and a complaint by a clergyman who signed 
himself " Presbyter Devoniensis " brought the matter to a 
point, and called for a reply ; for the " Presbyter's " letter 
made some rather serious allegations against Mr. Browne, 
as his answer (dated June 6th, 1859), sufficiently shows. 

" * Presbyter Devoniensis ' does me great wrong in saying 
that I am anxious to be Proctor for the diocese. It was 
pressed upon me. I confess that when I was once brought 
forward, I should have been sorry to be rejected, and that 


I felt it a great mark of kindness and confidence from 
the Cornish clergy; but I never wished it. He wrongs 
me too in saying or hinting that as a Cathedral dignitary 
I do not sympathise with the working clergy, and that 
I neglected or partly neglected my parishes when I had 
them. I worked in every way at Stroud, at Exeter, and 
at Kenwyn, till such work ruined my health. My broken 
health, more than any other cause, made me desire a 
change of work, and you know that when I was a Professor 
I had three curates where my predecessors and successors 
never have had more than one, that my parishes might not 
suffer by my absence. He is too civil about my acquire- 
ments and abilities, but in all this he does me great wrong, 
and his letter is only calculated to increase that jealousy 
which the Exeter clergy feel so much towards the CathedrsJ 
<:lergy. Otherwise, I cannot complain of what he says ; 
for I can quite understand the wish to have a Proctor 
always living in the diocese, and had no idea of continuing 
to represent it." 

It was a fair and a frank reply : if the diocese wished 
to send him thither, he was glad to go, leaving to them to 
•consider whether they were right in choosing a Cathedral 
dignitary instead of a parochial representative. 

During these years Professor Browne was busy with 
professorial* lectures and many sermons, which were the 
popular expression of his lecture-work. Beside his few 
pages on the New Zealand war, we have, in this year 
i860, several separate discourses : he preached in Waltham 
Abbey Church on the eight hundredth anniversary of 
the foundation of that great House, the reputed burial- 
place of King Harold. Canon William Selwyn had been 
asked to preach, and replied, that at Harold's grave it 
would be sacrilege for a William to preach ; why not 
ask Harold Browne? He also preached a sermon for 
the Missionary Societies at Aylesbury, entitled " Life in 
the Knowledge of God," and seven University sermons 
on the Atonement and other important subjects. In all 
these publications Professor Browne steadily increased his 


reputation as a sober-minded and moderate Divine. 
People saw that while other thinkers and writers of the 
High Church side were pushing eagerly forwards, and 
that perhaps without clearly defining their goal, Mr. 
Browne held firmly to the somewhat inflexible system of 
polity and doctrine contained in the formularies of the 
Anglican Church, which he justified by an appeal to the 
belief and practice of the early Christian Church. The 
general result was that, during these Cambridge years, 
though he himself was often depressed, often in bad health, 
and suffering from the narrowness of his means, still, his 
reputation in the Church and University grew steadily ; 
and it was everywhere felt that it could not be long before 
he would be called to occupy some still more important 
office. He knew his own mind; he was orthodox, with 
a certain natural liberality of tone ; a good scholar, a 
practised theologian, a refined and cultivated gentleman, 
with all the qualities which attract, and none of those 
more difficult and original characteristics which repel, 
the lords of promotion. His University expressed this 
feeling about him both by naming him as one of her 
Select Preachers at this period and by persuading him 
to write a full account of their programme of theological 
studies for the University Student's Guide. He accordingly 
contributed an excellent paper on the subject, treating it 
very practically and simply, and giving the young student 
sound and sensible advice. In it he says that — 

" It is evidently an axiom with the University of 
Cambridge that a sound divine should be first a sound 
scholar and an accurate thinker. Hence, she encourages 
her younger members to devote themselves rather to exact 
science and accurate scholarship than to moral or theological 
enquiries. The principle is one of undoubted excellence ; 
we must only be careful not to carry it too far. More- 
over, we must bring another principle to bear. It is this. 



No Study will ever be successfully pursued which is not 
taken up by the heart as well as by the head." 

And he goes on to warn men against cramming and 
all unworthy ways of finding out the minimum of work, 
thought, and* knowledge which will squeeze a candidate 
through the gate of examination ; he protests, in fact, 
against work for a temporary object, with no nobler aim 
as to knowledge or self-improvement. 

During these last years of his Cambridge life Professor 
Browne did much theological work. He contributed his 
article on Inspiration to the "Aids to Faith" in 1862; 
and published a course of Sermons, preached before his 
University, on "The Messiah as foretold and expected" 
In the next year (1863) he printed his five valuable 
Lectures on the "Pentateuch and the Elohistic Psalms," 
a volume which had a sale of extraordinary rapidity for 
a controversial work, and passed into a second edition in 
the following year. He also contributed an Article to 
the Quarterly Review on *' The Conversions to the Church of 
England " (October 1863), ^^d worked out the introductory 
and other matter connected with the early portion of the 
Speaker's Commentary. These literary labours were all 
largely tinged with the controversial tone of the times ; 
one reads Colenso or Baden Powell on every page; and 
it is not too much to say that of all the champions who 
descended into the lists on behalf of the older theology, 
no one did so much to steady waverers as the Norrisian 
Professor. With these works the earlier period of Professor 
Browne's literary activity comes to an end ; for after the 
end of 1863 his attention was withdrawn from these 
matters to the practical care and charge of a large and 
difficult diocese. They were, in fact, his final efforts in 
the field of active controversy. 

In all this period we are deeply impressed with the 

IIL] UFE AND WORK IN CAMBRIDGE, 1853— 1864. 243 

honesty and directness of purpose which mark his writing, 
and with the unfailing courtesy of his manner and language 
towards men to whom he was painfully opposed. From 
this time forward all his writings are sermons, addresses, 
pamphlets, numerous but fugitive. The main period of 
his literary work is over ; the pen ever drops into the 
second place when the crosier comes into use. 


1864— 1874. 





FOR some years past people had been saying that 
Professor Browne must be made a Bishop. There 
had not been wanting indications. When the See of 
Ripon was vacated by Dr. Longley in 1856, it was thought 
that he was to go there. And Bishop Philpotts of Exeter 
had promised him that, when it could be arranged, he 
would make him his Suffragan Bishop. It was also 
thought that he would have the Deanery of Ely when it 
fell vacant In a letter to Mr. James dated December 4th, 
1858, he refers to the rumours on the subject :— 

" Thanks for all you said about the Deanery of Ely. 
Though the papers had my name up for it, I never thought 
I should be offered it. I too strictly eschew politics to be 
a favourite with any Ministry, so that I especially wonder 
how I had so narrow an escape of Ripon. But I had 
quite determined not to accept the Deanery, if it had been 
offered me. I like my work here and my charge at Exeter 
far better than I should have liked to live eight months in 
the year at Ely. I should have been poorer, probably 
less healthy, in a position of less influence and power of 
usefulness, and so probably less useful and less happy." 

The moment the bishopric of Ely fell vacant on the 
death of Bishop Turton, every one seemed to feel that 
Professor Browne was the right man for the " Cambridge 
bishopric." And he too, deeply as he felt the responsi- 



bilities of the episcopal office, desired the promotion. 
There were matters on which he felt strongly, and as to 
which he could not have a free hand except as a bishop ; 
he had a natural wish for a change of work, for he had 
never been quite happy as a teacher and lecturer. He 
was also conscious of a real gift for organisation, for which 
his life at Cambridge and Exeter provided no sufficient 
opportunities. Though his opinions in Church matters 
were not those of Lord Palmerston's advisers, he had many 
warm friends, and public opinion ran strongly in his favour. 
He was not left very long in suspense. On January 20th, 
1864, came the Prime Minister's letter with the offer. It 
was accepted at once, without presumption and without 

The choice of the Crown proved very acceptable. 
Numberless letters of congratulation poured in the 
moment the appointment was made public The news- 
papers re-echoed the general satisfaction ; few nominations 
have ever met with so little adverse criticism. The 
Guardian says that it is a choice "which no party can 
claim as a triumph ; " he is " a sound and learned divine, 
a popular professor, an effective preacher, an influential 
member of his University, and a hard-working, expe- 
rienced, and dearly-loved parish priest. He is connected 
with no particular school or section of the clergy, and \s 
quite free from, and superior to, all party associations and 
party influence." And it sums up with a phrase which comes 
very near the truth, that he is " not a party man, with High 
Church proclivities." On the other hand, the Record is not 
offended, though it might have preferred a man of a different 
type, and actually reprints the letter which, in his own 
defence, some seven years before, he had addressed to that 
journal. The Standard says, somewhat oddly, for it is not 
very true, that " his creed is not so much a conclusion of 


the head as a conviction of the heart" — the phrase is 
intended to be very complimentary ; the article goes on 
very justly to say that " the secret of his power and the 
sum of his preaching is Christ Jesus the Lord." The 
Morning Advertiser strikes in with a jarring note. The 
appointment, no doubt, [is excellent, — we are willing to 
concede so much ; but will the new bishop duly smash the 
infidels ? Is he really what the " Interest " calls sound ? 
He is not a teetotaller, so far so good ; but is he safe on 
the other half of the platform ? And he is solemnly 
warned against '' the Ewalds and Strausses and Renans, 
the Colensos and Jowetts of the present day, who . . . 
praise and patronise the Bible, while they criticise its 

But the queerest of all ways of looking at the appointment 
is that of the John Bull^ which in announcing the nomi- 
nation takes occasion to say that there has been a great 
change in the character of the promotions lately made by 
the Crown, and unfolds the deep reason for this change. 
Mr. Gladstone, as usual, is at the bottom of it all : — 

"Lord Palmerstpn may perhaps in his more recent 
distribution of Church patronage have desired to save if 
possible his clever colleague who represents the University 
of Oxford from the mortification of being at last dis- 
missed by his longsuffering constituency." 

So that it is clear to this sapient party-print that the 
Prime Minister, in order to ingratiate himself with the 
Oxford Tories, selected a Cambridge man, who had never 
taken the slightest interest in party politics, as Bishop 
of Ely. 

The only thing approaching a criticism on the selection 
is the statement, repeated in most of the papers, that the 
new Bishop is a man of delicate health and constitution, 
who may not have strength enough to pull together the 


diocese after the feeble administration of his aged pre- 
decessor, Bishop Turton. 

Among the almost innumerable letters of congratulation 
which poured in on Professor Browne at this moment, 
there are one or two of a certain interest, which show how 
many men of very diverse views and temperaments united 
in a chorus of satisfaction at the appointment. He says in 
a reply to Mr. James that he sometimes has to answer 
seventy letters a day. 

One of the first of these many letters is from the greatest 
of modern theological scholars, Dr. Lightfoot, afterwards 
Bishop of Durham. 

"Trinity Co\jleg^, January 2$ik, 1864. 
"My dear Browne,— I hope I may so far trust 
rumour as to offer you my very hearty congratulations 
on your appointment to Ely. It has delighted everybody 
here. For we shall not look upon you as taken away from 
Cambridge, but as secured for us for a longer time than we 
otherwise could have hoped to retain you." 

Dr. S. M. Schiller-Szinessy sends a card " with profound 
respects and sincere congratulations," and a characteristic 
Hebrew text (i Sam. x. i), ^'i^k in^W-^y njn; ^Q?^-^ KiSa 

The Dean of Ely writes with delight at having "to 
certify to H.M. the election of the very man whom I 
should have decided to elect, had there been no terrors 
of praemunire to help my decision " ; and Bishop Trower 
says: "I do believe that if Lord Palmerston had asked 
the votes of all (whether clergy or laity) who are most 
known for seeking the peace and prosperity of Jerusalem, 
the result would have been the same." 

Among the many glad voices came one from the United 
States, from Bishop Williams of Connecticut, who writes 
on February 9th, 1864: — 

" I cannot refrain from sending another note after my 


former one, to say how truly thankful I am to God for 
having committed this important trust to your hands. 
I assure you the news occasioned almost as lively satis- 
faction on this side the Atlantic as it could have done in 
England. Had you seen the joy of my young men you 
would have realised that many whom you perhaps may 
never see with the eye of the body, honour and love you. 
If ever it could be a subject of congratulation to receive in 
trust the Episcopate, it cannot be in our day. But one 
may thank God for the Church, if not for the person 
selected. And I hope you will allow me to assure you that 
in these coming Easter days there will be prayers for you 
in these far-off regions, as well as among those where your 
life and its ties are found." 

A Welsh vicar from the mountains writes very charac- 
teristically, rejoicing, thanking, begging : — 

" I have never seen your published volume on the 
* Atonement,* and I do not know where to get it I happen 
to be now in correspondence with a Unitarian minister of 
some note who is wavering in his faith. I have no standard 
book on the subject. You must please forgive me once for 
all for asking you to send me a copy of your Lordship's 
sermon. In case you refuse, the Socinian may conquer 
me, as my arguments are nearly exhausted." 

Mr. George Williams writes one of his amusing letters 

from King's : — 

** January rjth, 1864. 

" My dear Browne, — It is a goodly practice of Chris- 
tian kings on coming to the throne to proclaim a general 
pardon and amnesty for all political offences committed 
under their predecessors. May I hope, now that you have 
succeeded to the triple crown of Ely [an allusion to the 
arms of the See, three crowns or] that you will follow this 
example, and condone the ecclesiastical offences committed 
during the time that the See had no Bishop and no 
prospect of one, ue,, before the demise of your predecessor ? 
You know that certain busy-bodies, myself among them, 
took upon themselves, during this long voidance of the 
See, to organise a series of Lent sermons in the restored 


University church, in which we wished you to take part. 
Please don't put us into the ecclesiastical court, but 
proclaim a pardon in the University pulpit itself, by taking 
part in the course. It is more important than ever that 
you should do so, now that you are to be Bishop." 

There were also letters from many bishops, welcoming 
him into their circle with a respect and affection which 
continued to the very end of his long Episcopate. 

There is a touching letter from a poor old couple at 
Lampeter, which comes eloquent with feeling : — 

" Lampeter, February Wt, 1864. 
"Sir, — 1 hope you will excuse my great liberty in 
writing to you, but I could not help it, as indeed, Sir, Jane 
and myself cryed with joy when we hird the glorious news 
that you was made a Bishop. May the Lord be with you 
and Mrs. Browne, and we hope that you and your family 
are well. 

" From your obident servants, 

"Enoch and Jane Jones." 

The Bishop of Exeter was so much engaged on his plans 
and schemes, that he clearly regarded the appointment 
mainly as it affected himself. He hates Crown appoint- 
ments, and refuses to recognise the right of the Minister 
to nominate to the canonry left vacant by this promotion 
to a bishopric ; he speaks of not interfering as an act of 
forbearance — he could have stepped in between the Minister 
and the Canonry, but did not. 

Archdeacon Thorp of Kemerton adds a pretty touch of 
the new Bishop's childhood : — 

" The union of sound learning, pastoral experience and 
moderation, free from all party prejudice and connections 
in the man placed in such a relation at once to the 
University and the Church, cannot fail to call to my mind 
the little boy, my fellow-traveller on the top of the coach 
to Aylesbury, whose legs, now long enough, did not 


then reach down to the footboard, when I, a young 
Fellow and Assistant Tutor of Trinity, made his first 

The Archdeacon seems rather to pity Professor Browne 
for his promotion, holding that Ely is not considered a 
favourite diocese among existing or expectant bishops. 

It may be well here to add a reply which the Bishop 
Designate addressed to his old friend and fellow-worker, 
Mr. James : — 

•• Close, Exeter, January ^oth^ 1864. 

"My dear Walter James,— My heartiest thanks for 
your very kind letter. I am indeed blessed with kind 
friends, and am most thankful for the universal welcome 
which has greeted me. Few greetings can be more accept- 
able than those which come from an old friend and colleague 
like yourself I greatly need your prayers, for the work is 
great and the times are troublous. My strength is small 
and much needs the support of God's grace. I do not know 
when my consecration is likely to be : not till after Easter, 
no doubt 

** I have only discovered to-day, to my dismay, that the 
Ecclesiastical Commission Acts added two counties to my 
diocese, and at the same time took away half or two-thirds 
of my patronage, leaving me with a great University and 
a great fen district, and less patronage than almost any 
other Bishop. This cannot but damp my work. 
" Yours sincerely, 

"E. Harold Browne," 

One of the old friends at Kenwyn sent a very touching 
little note : — 

" I hope that one day we shall meet together in Heaven, 
where parting shall be no more. I have to bless God that 
I am still in the same ladder that you represented at 
Kenwyn, that leadeth from earth to heaven," 

There are a few indications of the spirit in which Pro- 
fessor Browne himself regarded the change that was coming 


to him. One of these is the note in which he asked 
Professor Jeremie to preach his Consecration Sermon 
(undated) : — 

" My dear Friend, — I rejoice to hear that you are 
better, and thank you for your admirable sermon. I am 
so much obliged to you for holding out the hope that you 
will preach at my Consecration. The Archbishop appoints 
April loth, a day which will do well for your subject, I 
should think, as the Gospel is on the Good Shepherd who 
giveth His life for the sheep. I do not know yet whether 
Canterbury or Westminster Abbey will be chosen. 

"Ever yours gratefully, 

"E. Harold Browne." 

Westminster Abbey was eventually chosen as the place ; 
the day, however, was changed. In the interval between 
his nomination and consecration Mr. Browne remained 
very quiet ; almost the only public appearance made by 
him being at the meeting of the Exeter " Home for Fallen 
Women," held towards the end of January. Here his 
address was simplicity itself, a few straightforward words, 
based on the infinite love and self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ, 
a sacrifice extended to the most soiled of sinners. One 
can well believe that his every thought and utterance 
during this time was touched with a deep humility, and 
that he truly desired to follow in the steps of the Good 
Shepherd, and to offer himself for the flock to be entrusted 
to his care. 

He was consecrated alone in Westminster Abbey on 
Easter Tuesday, March 29th, 1864, by the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, his old friend the Bishop of St. David's, and 
the Bishop of Worcester. Dr. Jeremie, the Regius Pro- 
fessor, preached the sermon, of which " in the Choir not 
a syllable could be heard." The enthronisation at Ely 
followed a month later. Edward Harold Browne became 
full Bishop of Ely on April 26th, 1864. 


The diocese of Ely had been inevitably left much 
to itself during Bishop Turton's time ; no new agencies 
had been introduced ; the regular official work of the 
bishopric was feebly carried on by an aged and infirm 
prelate ; the relations between the University of Cambridge 
and the See had been left to take care of themselves. The 
renewed life of the English Church had already touched 
the Episcopal Bench when Harold Browne was made 
Bishop of Ely ; and it is not too much to say that in 
certain aspects of that revival of devotion and energy, 
and in the determination to render the organisation and 
machinery of the Church equal to the new calls daily 
made on her, he stood pre-emineht If he lacked the 
inspiring eloquence of Bishop Wilberforce of Oxford, and 
the strong-willed vehemence of his friend Henry of Exeter^ 
he had, as a full compensation, the power of attracting 
and swaying men, the advantage of knowing his own mind 
and of not being afraid of acting on it ; he had also a 
marvellous energy and love of work, which enabled him to 
revive Church feeling in the diocese, as by some electric 
force. More than in any other thing, the secret of his 
success as a bishop lay in his personal character. A man 
of peace and a man of high principle, he steadied the 
Church at a time when it was rocking violently ; he did 
more than any other prelate to restore confidence to the 
bulk of Englishmen attached to their Church, desirous of 
its welfare, and content with a moderate High Church 
texture in its services and organisation. 

The charm of his personal character was much enhanced 
by his modesty. Holding so highly as he did the doctrine 
of the apostolical origin of Episcopacy, he never allowed 
his office to be treated disrespectfully ; yet no one found 
access to his private heart by paying court to him as to 
a great man. In a letter to his old friend Mr. James, he 


takes him seriously to task for calling him " My Lord " 
and " Your Lordship." 

" It would really oblige me," he writes, " if you did not 
write *Your Lordship' quite so much when you are 
corresponding with an old friend. I am quite willing to 
receive the respect due to my office, however unworthy 
I am to fill it; but I do not like to feel that there is 
any distance between you and your affectionate friend, 

"E. H. Ely." 

His humility attributed all the dignity to his office, and 
nothing to himself: it was very touching to observe with 
what deference he would listen to men far beneath him. 
He was always ready to assume that there was a value 
attaching to the opinions of others, even of the young. 
One friend tells me how he himself, then a young Fellow 
just fresh come from College, walked one day in the Palace 
garden at Ely with the Bishop and a noted and learned 
Hebraist of the time, listening to an animated discussion 
between them on some disputed passage in the Book of 
Genesis. He was not a little startled when the Bishop 
turned to him, and with evident sincerity and gravity first 
restated his own view and that of his friend, and then 
asked his young companion for his opinion, as though he 
had been set there as umpire between them. The kindness 
and modesty, which seemed to put the youthful scholar 
on a level with the learned bishop, gave him a pleasure 
never to be forgotten. And it was characteristic of all his 
more controversial work : he treated every opinion with 
courtesy, listened to arguments, gave grounds for his own 
opinion, and brought things to a peaceful issue. As a 
consequence, very few implacable disputes, very few 
virulent controversies, no law suits, no trials of criminous 
clerks, or other miseries of the kind, troubled the repose 
either of Ely or of Winchester. 


His favourite apophthegm on episcopal authority was 
the ancient formula, "Let nothing be done without the 
Bishop ; " it seemed to be the germ of his commission, 
as deriving it from primitive episcopacy. 

At the same time, though he was a distinct High 
Churchman, he could see the good in strains of thought 
different from his own. He was no party man in politics, 
though all his character and his sympathies and opinions 
were conservative ; and the same condition of things also 
prevailed in his diocesan work ; he carefully avoided giving 
a party complexion to his dealings with the questions 
which from time to time arose. He was no longer the 
champion of the advanced movement, as he had been at 
Exeter ; his position is exactly stated in a letter of this 
period, in which a friend, thanking him for his primary 
Charge, says : — 

" It is, I think, exactly what was wanted, and will, I am 
sure, give great satisfaction as well as instruction to that 
moderate party in the Church who wish to keep in that 
middle course in which our Liturgy directs us to go." 

The Bishop carefully defines his position in a reply to 
Mr, Green, formerly M.P. for Bury St. Edmunds : — 

" The National Church ought to be comprehensive and 
tolerant, giving fair scope to that diversity of feeling and 
opinion which has, and in this world probably always will 
prevail among those who worship the same God and trust 
in the same Saviour ; and I never will be a party to 
narrowing the bounds of the Church so far as to reduce 
it to the proportions of a sect. Still, I am very desirous 
that the law should be so clearly pronounced as that 
we may know definitely what is permitted and what is 

In this side of his character as Bishop, that is, in the 
tolerant High Church aspect of it, he desired to follow in 
the footsteps of that predecessor of his both at Ely and 



Winchester, the saintly Lancelot Andrewes, as to whom 
he himself said that there was no one whose memory he 
venerated so much, or whose example he would so gladly 
follow ; " the very best type of the English High Church 
divine," he called him. At the end of his career, when 
one of the speakers on occasion of his retirement ventured 
to liken him to his saintly predecessor, the Bishop was 
completely overcome with emotion at being compared 
with the man whom he had ever regarded as his model 
and example. 

Such was the new Bishop of Ely. And in other respects 
it was a very happy appointment. The diocese needed 
a firm and gentle hand ; and the University was not 
always easy to deal with. True, Cambridge is not so 
difficult as Oxford ; the relations between Cambridge and 
Ely have been more cordial than those between Oxford 
and Cuddesdon ; yet, for all this, a Bishop of Ely should 
walk warily in dealing with the University. Bishop Harold 
Browne was the very man for it. He had won the respect 
of the University by his writings and character ; his con- 
nection with his College, Emmanuel, was always most 
cordial. The Cambridge part of his episcopal work was 
altogether successful. 

So too was his organisation. His proposals were 
reasonable, his way of commending tliem equally modest 
and learned : he could set out his views with a singular 
clearness and persuasiveness. The result was that through- 
out his ten years at Ely the diocese moved responsively 
to his call. There is no state of things so happy for a 
man as this : he has his convictions ; he can expound 
them well ; he has the motive-power in him which makes 
them operative ; he sees his plans taken up, pushed forward, 
getting happily into work. And the Bishop's new impulses 
infused fresh life into the large and straggling diocese. 


Under his fostering care Diocesan Conferences came 
into being. They were new then, and aroused the 
interest of clei^ and laity in all parts. People came 
together who had scarcely met before ; grievances might 
be ventilated ; fruitful suggestions put out ; new organisa- 
tions for diocesan work begun ; men felt that their work 
was being noticed and directed. More was done for 
schools, for ruridecanal work, for foreign missions ; also 
for missions in the more modem sense of the word, for the 
efforts, that is, to arouse a deeper spiritual life in England 
by special services, addresses, and other awakening agencies. 

The interest of the laity in Church matters was stimu- 
lated ; work was found for people of every kind ; the 
experiment of deaconesses was made at Bedford and 
elsewhere. It is a sign of his great desire to attract lay 
help, that he did not hesitate to say that on lay Church- 
men no greater burden should be laid than arose from the 
calls of a consistent Christian life, and from a belief in the 
Apostles* Creed. 

The Confirmations in the diocese were much more 
carefully attended to ; and the Bishop introduced a new 
and more effective form of address to the candidates. 
The Rev. John Hardie of Tyntesfield, near Bristol, one of 
his earliest chaplains, who accompanied him on his first 
confirmation tour, writes with a vivid recollection of this 
happy change in the character of these important services. 

" I recall," he writes, " with great pleasure his addresses 
to the candidates. They were quite unlike those ordinary 
echoes of the teaching already given by the parish priests ; 
for the Bishop uniformly took some passage from the 
Lesson appointed for the day, and on that founded extem- 
pore teaching which was good to be heard by all present, 
old as well as young, and calculated to make a deep im- 
pression on all for its earnest simplicity." 

No sooner was Bishop Harold Browne enthroned than 


he had to answer addresses from different parts of his 
diocese. These replies show us the temper of mind with 
which he began his work. Speaking to the Rural Deanery 
of Cambridge, he at once strikes a note of moderation. 
Our Church, he says, is neither superstitious nor rationalist. 
Clergy mix with the laity. He adds that "the study of 
objections, though it may perhaps oblige us to take a 
wider view of some points than we had at first expected, 
has not led to more doubt, but to the deeper and more 
abiding certainty"; — a wise word to the alarmists, who 
are ever running to hide their heads in the sand. " Church 
Defence " associations also drew from him a simple 
declaration against panic. He told them that "Church 
Defence consisted as much or more in developing the internal 
efficiency of the Church as in warding off attacks from 
without ; " and he struck the note, on which he had only 
touched in speaking to the Rural Deanery of Cambridge, 
by hoping that his clergy " would take counsel with their 
brethren of the laity." He added that he had hesitated 
about accepting the presidency of their body, because the 
clergy ought to be doing direct spiritual work, while the 
laity warded off attacks and managed the temporal affairs 
of the Church. Throughout his episcopate Bishop Browne 
did all in his power to enlist the active help of the laity ; he, 
at any rate, oiever fell into the mistake of confusing Church 
and Clergy. He had, too, a natural and healthy shrinking 
from the fighting organisations ; they seemed to him to be 
adverse to spiritual life, and to make men think they are 
doing God service, when they are only indulging in excite- 
ment. In his address to his Rural Deans in 1872, while he 
states clearly enough his anxieties as to the attacks made 
on the English Church, he adds significantly and wisely : — 

"In general my own feelings are strongly opposed to 
anything like agitation in defence of the Church. Even 


now I fall back on the principle which I have always 
advocated, viz., that we should begin by eradicating the 
abuses and increasing the efficiency of the Church. . . . 
It is apostolical in descent, in organisation, in doctrine and 
in its work. The more IFully it can be exhibited as all 
this, the more surely will it maintain the character of its 
foundation, and the more will it endear itself to the hearts 
of its children. . . . The more efficient we can make the 
Church, the more surely we shall contribute to its per- 
manence and prosperity." 

When the Additional Curates Society, this same year, 
asked him to take the chair at one of their meetings, he 
took the opportunity of wisely laying it down, that 
the true way for Church advance was first to get the 
living agencies to work before meddling with " bricks and 
mortar." If the men have the right spirit in them, and 
are faithful and active, the necessary appliances will follow 
almost of themselves ; schoolrooms, lay helpers, new 
churches will spring into being. And similarly, referring 
to Bishop Philpott's gift of ;f 1,000 to one of the churches 
in Exeter, he says : — 

" I am generally a little doubtful about building new 
churches. An increase of clergy seems so much more 
needed than an increase of churches, and licensed rooms 
make good chapels-of-ease among a poor people." 

These words go to the root of the matter ; one may 
easily retard the work of religion by church-building un- 
dertaken unadvisedly ; while the influence of a good and 
devoted man is as great in a cottage as in a cathedral. 

His first ordination on Trinity Sunday, 1864, gave him 
the opportunity of speaking his mind practically and 
plainly to the candidates. He commended to them the 
course of action he had himself always followed ; the 
minister must make himself personally acceptable to 
his people, and imust " acquaint himself with their own 


objects of thought," — a piece of advice which needs to be 
repeated again and again. He urged the candidates 
always to be " men of business," to avoid self-conceit, 
which, while it is " always odious, is more signally so when 
it shows itself in the professed follower of Him who was 
meek and lowly of heart." He then touches on a subject 
always in his mind, the relation of the Church to the 
working man, or, as it was then the loftier use to call him, 
" the Poor." The phraseology is rather old-fashioned : " If 
you wish the poor to respect you, you must respect them." 
" When you enter a peasant's hut, do not keep on your 
hat, do not use any of the airs of a superior." 

In the following November the Bishop held his primary 
visitation at Sudbury in Suffolk ; and took occasion to state 
with admirable clearness, a clearness not always pardoned, 
his views as to the English Church's doctrine of the Holy 
Communion. He proclaims that it is that of the primitive 
Church, which regarded it, as we do, "as an eucharistic 
offering of Prayer and Praise." And he continues : — 

" So long as the Communion is called a Sacrifice, the 
Presbyter a Priest, and the Holy Table an Altar, only in 
the sense in which they were called by the primitive Chris- 
tians, the names may be innocent and possibly edifying. 
So long as it is desired only to pay due reverence to the 
highest ordinance of Christ in His Church, and to honour 
Christ by honouring His Sacraments, there can be no ground 
of censure. But if by all this ceremony it be meant to 
indicate that there is not only a spiritual presence of the 
Saviour, when His feast is ministered, but a distinct local 
presence in the bread upon the table, then there is not only 
a sacrifice of praise and a solemn commemoration of the 
sacrifice of Christ, but also a renewal of Christ's sacrifice, 
and a propitiatory offering Him up anew for sin — then 
there surely is reason enough why we should dread the 
recurrence to these ceremonies which certainly meant this, 
and which have fallen into desuetude simply because they 
did mean this. It is thought, perhaps, that the sacrifice of 


the Mass is not one of the greatest evils of Romanism, 
resulting only from excess of reverence and devotion. But 
in truth the most observable fact in the history of Roman 
doctrine is that, while it has highly exalted the great 
cardinal truths of Christianity, it has, by the very honour 
so bestowed on them, overshadowed and obscured them. 
It has preserved and embalmed them, so that their true 
lineaments and early history cannot be hidden, and yet by 
the process itself it has deprived them of life and strength. 
The respect paid to Mary arose at first from the still higher 
respect felt for her Son and Saviour. Its highest develop- 
ment — tjie Immaculate Conception— originated in devout 
reverence for the sacred manhood of Jesus ; but it is now 
a fearful heresy against the Incarnation itself, placing a 
mediator between us and our Saviour, separating from close 
and immediate contact with sin-stricken humanity Him 
whose presence can alone heal and restore it. In like 
manner the sacrifice of the Mass unmistakably witnessed 
to the primitive faith in the great truth of the atonement 
through the sacrifice on the Cross. But its practical effect 
has been not to teach a trusting in the Saviour's love and 
eucharistic commemoration, or a faithful receiving of Christ, 
but rather a looking day by day for a fresh sacrifice atoning 
for fresh sins. So neither is that peace of the conscience 
really attained which springs from a sense of pardon 
secured by the one offering made once for all ; nor perhaps 
is that salutary dread of sin cultivated, which the Apostle 
impresses by reminding us that, * If we sin wilfully after 
that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there 
remaineth no more sacrifice for sin ' (Heb. x. 26). It may 
be that some who would revive that high ceremonial of 
which I have been speaking do not wish to revive the 
doctrine or the practice emphatically condemned by our 
Articles, but merely to lead us back to an aesthetic mediaeval 
sumptuousness of worship. Surely, if this be all, it is not 
for this worth the while to risk, and more than risk, the 
peace, the unity, perhaps the very being of our National 

It will be seen from these words how far he was from 
sympathising with the later High Church developments. 
He became seriously alarmed, indeed, at them, and thought 
the acts and utterances of men, with whom in the main he 


still agreed, were both hard to reconcile with the plain 
sense of the formularies of the Church of England, and also 
calculated to irritate quiet people. There are, no doubt, 
many who can remember, as the writer of this Memoir 
remembers, how anxiously he used to scan the manifestoes 
of the party ; and with what regret and even distress of 
mind he came to the conclusion that their language could 
not be brought into line with that of the Prayer-Book and 
the Articles. 

The ten years of Bishop Harold Browne's e{)iscopate 
at Ely are specially marked by his attempt to recast and 
strengthen the organisation of the diocese. He used to 
say that the Church of England was the least organised 
of all Churches, and that if at any time she were dis- 
severed from the State, she would have no machinery 
for carrying on her work. The fear of disestablishment 
was ever on the Bishop, and led him to try at once to 
strengthen the institutions of the Church, and to call out 
her true life by uniting her members, clergy and laity 
working happily together in earnest faith in Christ. He 
never lost sight of the great importance of enlisting the 
help and goodwill of lay people in Church work. 

His scheme of diocesan life may be sketched thus : 
At the head stood the Bishop, the father of his diocese, 
the centre of its spiritual life and corporate activity. Close 
to his side he wished to place: (i) the Cathedral staff, 
the Dean and Chapter, to be his counsellors and most 
trusted agents. This for the whole diocese. Then, (2) by 
means of his Archdeacons, each in his archdeaconry, he 
hoped to reach every comer and to learn something of 
every parish. (3) Under the Archdeacons he ranged 
the Rural Deans ; by whose means he hoped to learn 
much as to the opinions of his people. (4) Once a 
year there should be a Diocesan Conference held in each 


archdeaconry; (5) and the Rural Deans were asked to 
hold ruridecanal Chapters. (6) Lastly, he looked with 
much favour on some scheme for Parish Church Councils, 
in which, under the care and presidency of the incumbent, 
Church people might meet, discuss, and arrange all matters 
relating to Church work within their parishes. He hoped 
to see growing out of all this organisation fresh efforts to 
spread the gospel ; lay-agencies fostered ; a permanent 
diaconate begun, and deaconesses appointed; fresh life 
infused into Church education, new strength breathed 
into the societies, missionary, social, or other ; and, by 
these means, fresh vigour given to every portion of the 
Church's life. He also desired to make his views known, 
and his influence on religious thought felt, by his Charges, 
on which he expended great pains. 

I. From Bishop Harold Browne's earnest desire to bring 
all, including the Cathedral body, into the diocesan 
organisation, came the distrust with which he regarded 
those difficult dignitaries, the Deans of his Cathedrals. 
They were so hard to bring into line ; their appointment 
by the Crown gave them a kind of independence ; the 
ill-defined relation of Bishop and Dean to the Cathedral 
Church, and the peculiar position of the Deans, tried him 
much. Thus, he had not been long at Ely before a conflict 
broke out. He sent to the Cathedral to say that on a 
certain day he proposed to hold a Confirmation there ; and 
the Dean, in posting up the notice, did so, after the way 
of Deans, with "By order of the Dean" at the foot of 
the paper. This seemed to the Bishop an attack on his 
episcopal authority, and he resented it ; even going so far as 
to have a case drawn and submitted to counsel. Writing 
to Lord Arthur Hervey, his Archdeacon, he says : — 

"There is no doubt that when the Bishop orders a 
service for his Confirmations or visitations, the service is 


wholly his own, and that he is entitled to order it exactly 
as he chooses. I was doubtful whether this extended to 
the Bishop's own Cathedral, as Deans have always tried 
to make tiiemselves extra-diocesan. I have, however, Sir 
R. Phillimore's and Dr. Tristram's carefully drawn opinion 
that a Bishop is undoubtedly head of his own Cathedral 
in the fullest sense ; that he can order services and officiate 
so long as he does not contravene the Cathedral Statutes.'* 

The opinion runs thus : — 

" I. We are of opinion that the Bishop is by law the 
head of his Cathedral Church (of the New Foundation), 
and that he is entitled to officiate in the services of the 
Church, subject to such legitimate limitations as may be 
directly or indirectly imposed by the Cathedral Statutes. 
2. We are of opinion that the Bishop, independently of the 
Cathedral Statutes, is Ordinary as regards his Cathedral." 

And, eight years later, when in 1872 the establishment 
of the Cathedral Commission had led to farther discussion 
on the subject, he wrote a strong letter about it to his 
Dean, and ends by saying : — 

" I so far agree with you as to feel that the uncertainty 
as to the relation of a Bishop to his Chapter cannot be 
allowed to continue. It might do very well in the end 
of last century and the early part of this century, when 
Cathedrals were looked on as pleasant places of repose ; 
but not in the (I trust) increasing life of the present time. 
I have deprecated legislation as a mode of settling such 
questions, because the most likely to be detrimental to 
Cathedral establishments. If legislation should prove to 
be the only possible plan, it must be risked, though I 
believe that it will in the end * make a solitude and call 
it peace.' " 

And in the Bishop's published " Letter to the Dean of 
Norwich," written in the same year, there is a distinct 
touch of irritation. " Does it seem unreasonable," he asks, 
" that the Bishops should believe that they have some 
status in their own Cathedrals, and are not merely there 


on sufferance, and while there, under the authority of 
their own Deans ? " 

The Bishop may have been over-sensitive on the point, 
and inclined to give it more weight than it deserved ; yet 
there was reason in his remonstrances, and ground for 
them. In his "Letter to the Dean of Norwich" he says : — 

" For many years the late Bishop (Turton) had been 
very much on the shelf from ill-health, so that he and the 
Dean had never been in the Cathedral together, and the 
Bishop had probably not officiated in the Cathedral during 
the whole of the then Dean's incumbency. The Dean, 
my good and valued friend [Dr. Harvey Goodwin], had 
evidently the impression that he was the Ordinary, that I 
could do nothing in the Cathedral but with his consent 
He objected to my taking any part in the services, except 
the Absolution in the Communion Service, and the Blessing ; 
though this he afterwards gave up. If I held a Confirm- 
ation or an Ordination, or preached a sermon for a charity, 
there was always a printed notice issued, ending with * By 
order of the Dean.' " 

In accordance with ancient Church usage, the Cathedral 
is the Bishop's parish church, his parish being the diocese. 
This was very clear in early days, before parochial 
divisions existed ; and it is most wholesome for all that 
the Cathedral Church should be so regarded. It should 
be the central place of worship for the diocese : and the 
clergy of it, under their Bishop, should be an important 
element in diocesan organisation. The older conception 
of the Dean and Chapter was that of " Custodes ecclesiae " ; 
the modern notion is that their work is far wider, and 
that the more a Cathedral body lives for the diocese 
around the better it will justify its existence. The old 
traditional hostility between Bishop and Dean is fast 
dying out, as the renewed life of the Church finds plentiful 
work for all to do. Even if " learned leisure " were lost, 
—it is already far rarer in reality than .in name, — 


Cathedrals will gain fresh energy and a new lease of life 
by coming into contact with the mother-earth of real work. 
The old notion of " learned leisure " ranks with that of the 
"endowment of research." It is beautiful in theory, it 
breaks down' in practice. What has the leisure of all the 
Cathedral precincts produced in all these years ? Where are 
our monumental books, our contributions to the advance 
of knowledge, our learning leavening the fabric of the 
Church ? There are no such things. In the future, let us 
hope, the Cathedrals will be the mothers of life and enthu- 
siasm for the dioceses : the men most capable of orga- 
nising Christian work will be there; theology, moral science, 
practical goodness, will all look to the Cathedral clergy 
for help and guidance. Then the Cathedral Church will 
become the true centre of the diocese, the home of its 
common devotion ; not merely the great ornament of the 
city in which it stands, but itself a city set on a hill, that 
all may see it and rejoice, and run thither for light, for 
shelter, for counsel, as they strengthen themselves and 
gird up their loins for the pilgrimage of work for Christ 

This difference over the relations between the two 
offices happily had no effect whatever on the personal 
friendship between Bishop and Dean. The writer of these 
pages well remembers a visit to Ely at Christmas 1865. 
On reaching the Bishop's house we found Professor Selwyn 
there in great excitement over some private theatricals 
shortly to be given at the Deanery : great was the 
rejoicing when it was found that we knew all about the 
right dress for a Danish priest, in which part the kindly 
Professor was himself to appear. The little piece was a 
play adapted by Dean Harvey Goodwin from a Danish 
drama, entitled "Fetter Karl," and the Dean acted as 
prompter, while his clever daughters and Professor Selwyn 
acted the play. Nothing could have been more pleasant 


than the relations between them and the Bishop, who took 
the warmest interest in the performance, and watched the 
turns of the little comedy with great amusement. In 
truth, two men of the high qualities of Bishop Harold 
Browne and Bishop Harvey Goodwin, who then was 
Dean, could never have allowed estrangement to follow 
after any disagreement. After the Bishop of Carlisle's 
death, we find our Bishop writing thus : — 

" His death is indeed a great sorrow to us. We and 
our children were almost like one family at Ely, and we 
have been as brothers ever since." 

2. In respect of his work with the Archdeacons, who 
represented the four divisions of his large diocese, Ely (for 
Cambridgeshire), Bedford, Huntingdon, and Sudbury (for 
part of Suffolk), it is enough to say that no bishop ever 
worked more readily, more unweariedly, or in a more 
brotherly temper with his officers. His warm friendships 
with that kindred spirit. Archdeacon Emery, with Bishop 
McDougall, who followed him to Winchester, and with 
the late Bishop of Bath and Wells, are memories of the 
most sacred kind. His Archdeacons nobly seconded him 
in all his efforts, and helped to arouse fresh life through- 
out the diocese. 

3. But if all went well with the Archdeacons, it was 
not quite so simple with the Rural Deans. They were a 
revival of a very ancient office in the Church, and it was 
not clear at first whether a place was not being made 
for them at the expense of the Archdeacons, and also 
whether the clergy in their districts would acknowledge 
their authority. Jealousies and difficulties seemed inevitable. 
How were Rural Deans to be appointed ? To whom were 
they responsible ? to Archdeacon or Bishop ? How should 
a Rural Dean enforce his authority? What were his 


proper functions ? All seemed vague, and there were no 
safe usages or precedents to guide. The Bishop attacked 
the problem at once. Writing to Lord Arthur Hervey in 
September 1864, he says : — 

" I could almost wish the Rural Deans in the diocese of 
Ely, like those in Exeter, were elected by the clergy, 
subject to the consent of the Bishop. They would then 
represent the clergy, and a meeting of Rural Deans would 
be a representative body." 

We see by another letter, dated August 12th, 1865, the 
difficulties which beset the matter. 

" Returns of Rural Deans, — I am sorry to say this is 
a vexed question. I hear many murmurs of discontent 
Some of the clergy decline to send answers to such ques- 
tions except to me directly. They do not recognise the 
right of a Rural Dean to demand them, or of the Arch- 
deacon to be the medium of communicating to the Bishop. 

" A., who, poor fellow, is not very sound in brain, having 
taken a fancy that the questions emanated from Archdeacon 
Emery, has taken every opportunity of protesting against 
the questions themselves. I have no doubt that I cannot 
by a general commission to my Deans Rural authorise 
them to make enquiries not submitted to by the clergy. 
Finding these in use, and well received in the diocese of 
Norwich, I feared no evil." 

The Bishop, in his thorough consideration of the organi- 
sation of his diocese, thought much of the importance of 
the Rural Deans. He appealed through them to his clergy, 
and encouraged them to hold Ruridecanal Chapters, "in 
which the subjects discussed should be chiefly practical, 
and directly connected with pastoral and missionary labours, 
or with Church extension and efficacy." He also consulted 
these local Chapters on practical matters, and tried to 
make the subjects submitted to them bases for deliberation 
in his Conferences. 

4. The Church Congresses, which began to be held in 


1 86 1, led to a wish for something more practical and nearer 
home, that is, for Diocesan Meetings, in which not only the 
larger questions of the day, but local matters also, might 
be discussed, and the conditions of the Christian life 
quickened by consultation and brotherly discussion. In 
1863 the Archdeacon of Ely issued a paper on the subject ; 
it was also brought before Convocation, and, on the whole, 
opinion seemed favourable, though it was not at first clear 
what should be aimed at. Some thought that it should be 
a Diocesan Synod ; others desired a representative body 
of clergy and laity. The Diocesan Synod had been dis- 
continued in England since the days of Henry VIII.; it 
was an assembly of all beneficed and licensed clergy in a 
diocese, summoned by their bishop. It is described (in 
Bum's " Ecclesiastical Law," ii., p. 366) as " the assembly 
of the bishop and his presbyters, to enforce and put in 
-execution canons made by general councils or national 
and provincial synods, and to consult and agree upon rules 
of discipline for themselves. . . . These were not wholly 
laid aside, till by the Act of Submission (25 Henry VIII., 
c 19) it was made unlawful for any Synod to meet but by 
royal authority." 

To these Synods the bishops apparently also summoned 
the deacons and a certain number of laity, who were to 
appear and make presentments as to the state of their 
several parishes. In the Synod the bishop made enquiries, 
heard synodical causes and gravamina, and reported to the 
diocesan Synod what had been decreed in the provincial 
Synod ; lastly, he published, on his own authority, 
diocesan constitutions, which, after being accepted by the 
Synod, became of force in the diocese, with appeal to 
higher authority. 

The advantage of giving every clergyman in a diocese 
a chance of taking part in such meetings is obvious ; still, 


there were great difficulties. Synods of the kind were 
illegal, their decisions would have no binding force ; the 
numbers would be too large for conference ; and the 
same tendency which in the lay world had commuted 
personal attendance into representation would be sure to 
act on Church assemblies also. Lastly, though the laity 
were recognised, they were not an integral part of a 
Synod; and it was felt that no system could succeed 
without the co-operation of the laity. Consequently, while 
Diocesan Synods, properly so called, have only been held 
here and there, yearly Conferences of clergy and laity have 
become the custom in many dioceses. 

Bishop Harold Browne, while other bishops were hesi- 
tating or averse, pressed boldly forward. He was both 
prompt and cautious. He held an informal Conference 
in the first year of his episcopate, 1864; he then sent 
letters to the rural deaneries of the diocese, to elicit the 
opinion of his clergy ; and when these replies had come 
in, summoned a Conference of the Dean and Chapter, 
the Archdeacons and Rural Deans, on December 13th 
and 14th, 1865. This Conference determined that there 
should henceforth be : (i) Ruridecanal Chapters, composed 
of all incumbents and licensed curates in the several 
rural deaneries; and (2) Ruridecanal Meetings of clergy 
and laity, summoned by each Rural Dean, and consisting 
of the clergy of the rural deanery as above, the church- 
wardens of each parish, and other laymen (to be selected 
by the clergy and churchwardens) up to one-third of the 
number of parishes in the rural deanery. 

These two Conferences, in 1864 and 1865, were informal 
and tentative ; the latter set going a system of Diocesan 
Conferences which had to be modified afterwards. There 
were to be two Conferences on two successive days ; on the 
first day the Dean and Chapter, the Archdeacons and the 


Rural Deans, met under the Bishop's presidency; on 
the second day there would be more general conference 
of clergy and laity, one layman from each rural deanery 
being invited to join the clerical company. It is clear 
that this scheme was far too narrow to stand long. The 
clergy generally are not always in the humour to be set 
aside ; and a Conference of purely official persons, most 
of them nominees of the Bishop of the diocese, could 
never be regarded as representative of the mind of 
Churchmen generally. No doubt, the diocese of Ely 
was feeling the way as a pioneer for other dioceses; 
people were cautious at the outset, and thirty years ago 
they were in a far more irritable temper over Church 
matters than now. The Bishop's complex scheme was, 
however, soon set aside, and by 1868, the double system 
being abolished, the whole Conference was thrown open to 
clergy and laity. 

Beside organisation, the Conference of 1865 did some 
good practical work. It arranged for a Diocesan Fund, 
administered by a Diocesan Society, which should collect 
in one the scattered efforts already being made to advance 
the main branches of Church work in the diocese. The 
Fund was dedicated: (i) to spiritual aid, by providing 
curates, readers, deaconesses or mission women, in popu- 
lous or widely scattered parishes j (2) to the augmentation 
of poor benefices and the endowment of new parishes ; 
and (3) to the giving of grants in aid of poor clergy in 
difficulties. The Conference also considered Church educa- 
tion and inspection of schools, missionary studentships, 
and parochial organisation for home and foreign missions. 
Thus it will be seen that the Bishop carried out into 
practice the opinion he had expressed at the opening of 
the Conference, namely, that " the subjects discussed should 
be chiefly practical and directly connected with pastoral 



and missionary labours, or with Church extension and effi- 
ciency." And to keep somewhat nearer to his ideal, he hit 
on the plan of holding his Conferences at different centres, 
so that, in fact, they became what one might call Archi- 
diaconal Synods, coupled with a system of lay repre- 
sentation. At these four different centres, one in each 
archdeaconry, and usually at Bedford, Bury St. Edmunds, 
Cambridge, and Huntingdon, he introduced as much variety 
as he could ; he found the fourfold Conference a very 
severe tax on his strength, though he persevered with it 
throughout his Ely episcopatie. When he passed over to 
Winchester, and found a general yearly Conference in 
existence, he made no attempt to alter the arrangement, 
though he more than once publicly referred with favour 
to the Ely plan. Nothing allured him so much in the 
larger scheme as the benefit to isolated clergy of meeting 
and exchanging views and opinions with their neighbours. 
That isolation or " Congregationalism " of parishes always 
weighed heavily on his mind : — 

" Clergy and laity," he said, " have lived isolated, divided, 
and disjointed, misunderstanding, suspecting, distrusting 
one another. . . . Above all, I have it at heart to break 
down that isolation, that wall of separation, which divides 
one clergyman from the other, and the clergy in general 
from the laity." 

For he had not only the larger views of a man who has 
seen something of the world around him, but also a strong 
belief in the corporate and united character of a Church, 
as a body in which all are brethren in Jesus Christ, and are 
bound to avoid isolation and the risks of solitude. 

In the subjects discussed in these earlier Conferences 
the Bishop avoided abstract topics, or anything which 
might lead to heat and irritation. Early, however, in 1867 
the Church Defence Association of Cambridge perhaps 


dissatisfied at a system which sounded so peaceful a note 
and seemed to avoid fighting questions, their favourite 
business, addressed a memorial to the Bishop on the 
question of the revival of Diocesan Synods. The Bishop 
replied that Diocesan Synods are a part of the constitution 
of a National Church, and that they were clearly contem- 
plated by the English Reformers. He urged that in such 
Sytiods the laity must also have a voice, partly because 
it was in accordance with ancient Church usage that 
all the members of the body politic should have the right 
to appear, and partly because it was wise to welcome 
them, as they would inspire confidence, and procure 
acceptance for the decrees to be promulged. He points 
out that synodical action exists and succeeds in America ; 
and that in his belief the effects of it on the Church at 
home would be happy. Church Congresses, he adds, 
have already proved that men of very different views can 
meet and discuss points of difference in a charitable 
spirit He thinks it would not be hard to provide 
accommodation at Cambridge for about seven hundred 
clergy and about thirteen hundred churchwardens, in all 
a body of about two thousand. He thinks that the subjects 
for discussion ought to be selected by a committee, under 
the Bishop's eye ; and concludes by suggesting that at 
first matters of detail might well be left to him. And 
finally he says that as he took an active part in the first 
Church Congress which was held there, so he hoped that 
now it would be followed by nearly if not quite the first 
Diocesan Synod ever held in modern times. 

This reply was followed by a circular, dated January 
25th, 1867, addressed to the Rural Deans, by whom, as on 
a pivot, he hoped to set the system moving. In it he is 
" anxious to know the sentiments of the clergy and faithful 
Isdty of his diocese on the questions raised." The circular 


shows how much he had at heart the revival of constitu- 
tional life in the English Church in the face of the perils 
threatening the whole fabric ; for the Bishop was no 
optimist, and was always inclined to take an alarmist view 
of the relations of the Church to the people of England. 

" There is an increasing danger," he writes, " from 
enemies both within and without ; clergy and laity will 
have to draw closer together and consult more freely and 
fully for the maintenance of true doctrine and of sound 

And he goes on to give a very simple account of the 
genesis of the modern Diocesan Conference : — 

" It was with this and with the well-known example of 
St Cyprian full in my memory (Ep. xiv., p. 32 : Oxf. 1682) 
that in the first year of my episcopate I commended the 
meeting of Ruridecanal Chapters throughout my diocese, 
encouraged the calling in of laymen as assessors to the 
clergy, and endeavoured by a simple machinery to gather up 
the results of such meetings in a central assembly at Ely." 

He then pointed out the practical difficulty of convoking a 
Synod of some two thousand members to sit for a couple of 
days in the Cathedral Church. "A Diocesan Congress'* 
would be very different from a Diocesan " Synod," and " I 
should much deplore the assembling of such a large body 
merely to hear speeches from a few popular orators, or 
to excite one another to strong feelings on great party- 
questions." He points out that the new Diocesan Synod 
could neither be the consistory court of the Bishop nor the 
right place for gravamina. For the consistory court is now 
otherwise constituted, and the clergy can reach their Bishop 
more easily (and apparently do not hesitate to do so) 
through the penny post. 

" There remains," he adds, " but one other use for which 
the ancient Diocesan Synod appears to have met, viz., to 


discuss the practical wants of the diocese, to give account 
of its practical working to the Bishop, to give counsel to 
him, and to hear advice from him on these wants and 
their working." 

He then asks the opinion of the Deaneries as to whether 
this last work can be better done by a Synod composed 
of the whole clergy and of selected laymen. He also 
says that he would like to see all schools of thought fairly 
represented ; for he has confidence in that large body of 
conservative-minded men who rank themselves on no side 
and belong to no school. The party-folk, he says, with a 
slight touch of scorn, " make plenty of noise, but are really 
a very small minority." 

The upshot of the whole enquiry, which elicited much 
interest, was the establishment of the Diocesan Conference, 
composed of a manageable number of clergy and repre- 
sentative laymen. Churchmen, — not, as at first suggested, 
necessarily churchwardens. In the first Conference all the 
clergy and all the churchwardens had a seat 

This important body met at last in October, 1868. It 
was much larger than was desirable ; the number of 
persons summoned averaged about seven hundred or eight 
hundred in each division, and those actually present were 
about four hundred. 

The subjects of the 1868 Conference were: (i) The 
maintenance of the National Church ; (2) Lay work ; (3) 
Unity within the Church, and hopes for the comprehension 
of Nonconformists; and (4) The practical question of 
Church rates. The Bishop in his addresses touched on 
some important matters : he brings <fut the old figure of 
the " educated Christian gentleman " in each parish ; yet 
he feels that this personage is much too independent. He 
also notices the shift of political power to the people, and 
urges the Church to adapt herself to the new conditions, — 


advice which she has shewn herself very reluctant to follow 
during the past quarter of a century. He also points out 
that the old parochial system is not flexible enough to cope 
with the difficulties which meet the Church in large cities, 
and declares bravely that it must be supplemented by new 
machinery and more distinct co-operation ; and he might 
have added, with that nobler spirit of self-sacrifice of which 
we h^ve since seen splendid examples. As to the question 
of Cjhurch and State, he speaks temperately and sensibly : 
it need not so much scare us if we are ready ; should it 
take the Church unawares and unorganised, the effect of 
separation would be very serious. He recognises that the 
laity are, not unnaturally, rather jealous of much organ- 
isation, and fear a kind of sacerdotal conspiracy. And to 
this fear he replies by declaring it to be his wish that the 
new organisations should be not sacerdotal but mixed and 
general, lay and clerical, accepted by all. 

" There is a feeling," he says, " that the High Church are 
more in favour of organisation, and that the Evangelical 
party (for which I cannot in many points but feel great 
sympathy) prefer individual spiritual work ; but I am cer- 
tain that a sectional organisation will take place, unless all 
parties, high, low, and broad, work together, and those 
who hold back will be left behind. We want religious 
organisation in a friendly spirit in spiritual work." 

He holds that, with a view to union, there should 
be no resolutions nor any voting ; only committees 
nominated for special work, and conference and exchange 
of opinions. He is also very earnest in deprecating ex- 
clusion ; for the Cl^urch of England is the true Catholic 
Church in England, " containing in it every one baptised 
into Christ, embracing all who acknowledge the Apostles' 
Creed." And in it all should meet in a friendly spirit 
under their Bishop, " who, I hold, is bound to be no party- 


man ; " he feels sure that, if they met together, parties 
would quarrel less than was generally expected. 

These yearly conferences were not truly representative ; 
and, consequently, towards the end of Bishop Browne's 
Ely episcopate some murmurs and complaints arose. The 
clergy resented the preponderance of ex officio members, 
the Bishop's nominees; he, somewhat jealous of his 
authority, defended the system, urging that it worked well. 
The Conference of 1873 had a committee on the subject, 
which reported that there was not a single elected or 
representative clerical member, and advised that elections 
should be held for one clerical and one lay representative 
in each rural deanery. Before any action could be taken 
the Bishop had left the diocese. 

He always took deep interest in the proceedings of 
the Church Congresses. They have afforded so good an 
opportunity of testing the new life and vigour which has 
by God's blessing been breathed into the Church, that he 
regarded them as the germ of self-government and of a 
new and wholesome revival of discipline. The meetings of 
Congress soon shewed that Churchmen could meet without 
flying at one another's throats, and that there was a broad 
middle group of men willing to tolerate differences of 

5. In the matter of Parish Councils we find Bishop 
Browne well in advance of his clergy. The subject has 
since his day grown into very great importance ; and the 
State has occupied the ground which was then open to the 
Church. The Councils recommended by the Bishop were 
cautiously guarded ; for he had no democratic leanings. 
It should not be the old mediaeval Vestry, with its meeting 
of all ratepayers, nor a body elected by what the opponents 
of the popular will style " mechanical voting " or " mechanical 
majority," — by which seems to be meant the expression of 


each person's free judgment, if it takes a direction opposed 
to the opinion of his "betters." The Bishop's Council 
should be carefully selected from the tried supporters of 
Church and clergyman. Even so, his views were so far 
in advance of those of the clergy that they fell dead both 
at Ely and at Winchester. Hardly a dozen of his Councils 
were attempted in either diocese. The clergy, as a rule, are 
suspicious as to interference, and fear outspoken criticism ; 
accustomed to act for themselves, they deem themselves 
independent of their flocks, and have no wish for a Council 
at their elbow. Parish Councils of a very different type 
are coming now, and the clergy have unfortunately once 
more lost the initiative. Post est occasio calva. 

Bishop Harold Browne's desire to take his diocese into 
counsel with him is further illustrated by the tone and 
tenor of his Charges. His primary Charge, given after he 
had been at Ely for nearly two years, was received with 
great favour, though the earnest warnings against extremes 
in the matter of ritual were distasteful to a certain minority. 
The Spectator, in a very friendly article, says that it is 

** a charge which should rank him by the side of the Bishop 
of St. David's and the Bishop of London, as one of the 
great champions of comprehension rather than of narrow 
definition with relation to the doctrinal character of our 
National Church, And, what is better still, because less 
susceptible of doubtful interpretation, it shows him to be 
one of the great advocates for the charity of our Burial 
Service, and that on the highest ground — the ground not 
of conjectural patronising diarity on our part, but of the 
universal scope and intention of God's love in Christ" 

The reviewer also warmly applauds the Charge, as taking 
a broad and liberal view of the "intellectual boundaries 
of Christ's truth, and of the spiritual boundaries of Christ's 
mercy." And he ends by saying : — 

" If the Bishop's ecclesiastical influence in the Church is 


to be judged by this Charge, we may look forward to having 
in future in the Upper House of Convocation a great 
accession to the strength of that small but noble party 
which, resting chiefly on Dr. Thirlwall and Dr. Tait, has 
recently done so much to redeem the Church from the 
charge of petty bigotry and ecclesiastical craft" 

While the Bishop's utterances — sensible, charitable, and 
full of a high Christian spirit — seemed to mark him out as 
a tolerant and liberal-minded prelate, his intense devotion 
to the Church also appears in a paragraph in which he 
defines and defends the middle position it loves to hold. 

" It is common," he says, " with those organs of thought 
whose very boast is that they are the voices of the spirit 
of this world, to represent the Church of this land as a mere 
negation, a compromise, by which all definite truth has 
been silenced, all earnestness neutralised and forbidden ; 
neither Catholic nor Evangelical, a mere tabula rasa, with 
no clear characters anywhere impressed on it. But in very 
deed the Church is full, not empty — gathering from the 
right hand and from the left — full of all deep Catholic 
doctrine, all holy Evangelical truth — primitive, Apostolic, 
Catholic, Scriptural, Reformed, Evangelical. It has elimi- 
nated nothing but error. Having 'proved all things' it 
'holds fast that which is good.' It is not a compromise 
between truth and falsehood, but a comprehension of all 
that is Christian and holy and true." 

And in a letter, written soon after receiving a copy of 
this primary Charge, Professor Lightfoot, whose words 
must always command the respectful attention and ready 
acceptance of English Churchmen, speaks warmly and 
wisely. While he thanks him for his protest against 
innovations in ritual, he regrets the need for such protest, 
and urges the Bishop to do all in his power to retain good 
and earnest men, " in spite of their follies," within the walls 
of the English Church. He ends by saying that he fears 
'* nothing more than an anti-ritualistic panic." 

The Charge deals also with the state of the diocese. 


He describes it as a district of large acreage and small 
population ; it has no large towns, no great manufactures ; 
it is well supplied (and, indeed, by comparison with most 
northern dioceses over-supplied) with clergy, having in all 
seven hundred and thirteen, or one for every six hundred 
and eighty of the population. Communications, in some 
parts, are not easy ; the small parishes are more awkward 
to work than the large ones ; there is tqo much non- 
residence among the land-owners and clergy. The working- 
folk have little love for the Church or for her ministers. 
There is also the peculiar fen-life, unhealthy and isolated ; 
the diocese also, on the moral side, suffers from the system 
of working in gangs. On the other border of the diocese 
were the difficulties, educational and moral, of the straw- 
plaiting industry ; he makes excellent suggestions as to the 
best way of overcoming the evils. He traces the growth 
of the parochial system, and sees its weak points ; he 
commends the employment of mission women or deacon- 
esses ; nor does he forget the importance of enlisting lay- 
help, wherever possible, for the work of a parish. And 
with much that is wise as to the folly of stifling enquiry^ 
and with remarks on the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, 
he closes a Charge which, for interest, importance of topics 
discussed, piety and charity, and for practical advice and 
suggestions, may be ranked very high among episcopal 

It was in October that the thought of a yearly meeting 
of the East Anglian Bishops, to help one another in 
spiritual life and work, and to consult tc^ether on practical 
questions bearing on the efficiency and right guidance of 
the Church, took definite form. These Conferences sprang 
out of a visit paid by the Bishop of Ely to the Bishop of 
Norwich, when the value of sympathy and fellowship in all 
good objects was much in the minds of the two prelates. 


The Bishop of Lincoln (Wordsworth) entered warmly into 
the scheme, and urged that, as he was the senior of the 
Eastern Counties Bishops, the experiment should first be 
tried at Riseholme, where accordingly the first meeting 
took place in November 1865. The Bishops invited were 
Lincoln, Ely, Norwich, Peterborough, and Rochester ; on 
the establishment of the See of St. Albans, which took 
away the Essex part of the older See, Rochester ceased 
to be East Anglian, and St Albans was invited to take 
the place. 

These meetings have been kept up ever since that time, 
with real success, spiritual and social. That all was not 
solemnity is clear from the incident of the photograph of 
the five Bishops, which was taken in 1872. Mr. Titterton, 
the photographer at Ely, was astonished one morning by 
the invasion of five Bishops, headed by the Bishop of the 
diocese, who came in laughing, and called out, " Mr. 
Titterton, here are five Bishops out on a spree ; " " and," 
said that good man, " these distinguished gentlemen were 
all as merry as boys." Bishop Magee naturally led the 
way ; and when the photographer remarked that " he 
wanted to get them all on an equal plane," cried out, 
" What ? all equally plain, did you say ? That would be 
very hard on the others ! " and it was some time before 
sufficient gravity could be restored. 

Matters of ritual and ornament also in these days occu- 
pied much of the Bishop's thoughts. A letter written by 
him from Ely at the end of 1865 to his friend and colleague, 
Lord Arthur Hervey, shews us what way his mind was 
moving at that time : — 

" My dear Lord Arthur,— ... I should have 
tried to consult you more privately about one or two points. 
One is, whether there is any hope that any mutual con- 
cessions should reconcile the extreme ritualists and their 


extreme opponents. I imagine that in Parliament and 
Convocation we .may have a struggle. I should be very 
sorry that it should lead to schism. If the ritualists would 
accept licence to go a certain way but no further (the 
limit of course being to be discussed) we might obtain an 
approximation to uniformity of ceremonial. Neither you 
nor I wish it to be too bare ; but we do not like others to 
be offended by its being too gorgeous." 

And again, a fortnight later, he reverts to the subject :— 

•* Palace, Yin, January ist, 1866. 

" My dear Lord Arthur, — . . . There is an able 
argument on ' Ritualism and the Ecclesiastical Law ' in 
the first Number (January 1866) of the Contemporary 
Review. It is evidently by a lawyer. From that and 
from other sources I gather that the law will probably 
prove to be, that a cope and alb worn at Communion are 
admissible ; but that lights on the altar, processions, incense, 
turning the back to the people during the consecration, 
are illegal ; and also that altars as distinguished from 
communion-tables are illegal. I do not think much harm 
would come if both parties would agree to this. A cope 
worn at the Holy Communion (if processions, incense, 
adoration of the elements, etc., were forbidden) would do 
little harm. But even this compromise I fear will not be 
accepted by either party. 

" Ever, my dear Lord, 

" Yours most sincerely, 

" E. H. Ely." 

And again, in the following May : — 

" You will be interested to hear that a carefully elaborated 
case has been laid before Sir R. Phillimore, Sir Hugh 
Cairns, and Mr. Melhuish, and they have pronounced a 
decided opinion against the legality of altar-lights, incense, 
mixing water with the wine, and vestments. I have not 
yet seen the opinion." 

Later judgments have modified this view of the subject 
Simply as shewing how little the Bishop was inclined 
to deal hardly with these innovations, when they came 


before him in a practical form, we may quote another letter 
to the same Archdeacon, in which he says : — 

" Touching the stone slab in Mr. Luke's altar-table, Mr. 
Lee thinks it could not legally have been put up without 
a faculty ; but, if it excites no strong feeling, it might be 
as well quieta nan movere 1 I should feel it difficult to order 
the removal of a like slab in Wisbech church, where the 
Vicar is rather Low than High, and where I suppose the 
history of the slab to be much the same." 

When a Memorial on these subjects was presented to 
him, his reply breathed a spirit of caution and tolerance, 
with an instinctive shrinking from extremes : — 

" I view," he says, " with the deepest sorrow the present 
divisions in the Church, and the rashness with which some 
of the clergy are reviving forms and customs unknown 
among us for many centuries, some of which are intended 
to symbolise doctrines deliberately rejected by our branch 
of the Church Catholic of Christ" [He instances Hymns 
to the Virgin Mary.] "The Church ought to be com- 
prehensive and tolerant, giving fair scope to that diversity 
of feeling and opinion which always has, and in this world 
probably always will prevail among those who worship 
the same God and trust in the same Saviour ; and I will 
never be a party to narrowing the bounds of the Church 
so as to reduce it to the proportions of a sect." " I can 
sympathise," he adds, " with a man who says, * I and those 
who think with me hold that the great doctrine of the 
Cross of Christ and faith in His atoning blood is the vital 
essence of Christianity, and unless I *can see other people 
sound upon that, I can have no hope that the true faith of 
the Church of Christ will prevail.' I can understand, on 
the other hand, that another person may say : * Those who 
think with me give great and deep value to the incarnation 
of Christ and to the union of every Christian soul with the 
incarnate Saviour, and the dwelling of the Spirit of God 
in every Christian's breast ; and on that principle I exalt 
and value the Sacraments ; and I cannot think that those 
who differ from me in this are doing all that the Church 
teaches.' I, for one, thank God that I most heartily agree 
with both. I can quite understand how people who take 


either view may be disposed to bring every one into con- - 
formity with themselves, and reject all who do not join 
them. But surely, if we take an example, we shall see how 
all may be comprehended in one. I will not name living 
men, as they are mixed up in questions on which there 
may be differences of opinion. I will go some way back ; 
and, as examples of the High Church school, take Arch- 
bishop Laud, or my great predecessor in this diocese. 
Bishop Andrewes ; I will take such men as Archbishop 
Leighton and John Wesley as representing the Low Church 
party ; and Bishop Whately and Dr. Arnold as represent- 
ing the Broad Church ; and I would ask. Is there any 
single person who would like to see the limits of the 
Church drawn so closely as to exclude any of these ? I am 
sure that a Church which would exclude any of them would 
not be a Church but a sect Let us try and remember 
that mutual forbearance is one of the great principles of 
unity; and that we may preserve all essentials and still 
have unity. The unity, in fact, to which the questions I 
have proposed for consideration point is, not compelling 
anyone to come into our own narrow school, but the 
principle of uniting in great and God-like aims in common 
action, to the neglect of minor differences." 

It will be seen how free the Bishop was from taint of 
party spirit ; the result was that both sides were inclined 
to taunt him with blowing an uncertain trumpet, when he 
was not leading on a party to the fight, but trying, in a 
true Christian spirit, to find out how to reconcile the com- 
batants, or at least to*draw them to a truce. He himself 
liked a dignified and rather elaborate ritual ; yet now, as 
Bishop, he refused to countenance the further advance. 
His stem-principle was peace in Christ, a gospel large 
enough for all ; he deprecated all warfare between Church- 
men, whether in the courts or in pulpits, in conference or 
in newspaper. His efforts were blessed with no little 
success ; though the controversies of this period were hot, 
and wrapped him again and again in a steaming atmo- 
sphere of quarrel, he never lost his coolness and clearness 


of vision, or forfeited th6 universal respect and affection 
of his flock. 

The same spirit appears also in his remarks on those 
outside the Church. He had been personally friendly with 
the Wesleyans at Kenwyn ; and now he wrote : — 

" The Church of England is the only denomination that 
neglected to use the energies of the middle and lower 
classes. The Wesleyans have a vast number of persons 
who exert themselves for the glory of God, and if we 
do not employ such persons in the Church of England, 
they will go elsewhere." 

The solution seemed to him to lie in the direction of a 
permanent diaconate. If Disestablishment were to come, 
he adds, " it would be a deplorable evil ; but it would 
not touch or alter the catholicity of the English Church," 
— a wholesome saying, and at the same time a grave 
rebuke to those who by speaking of the temporalities of 
the Church as if they were her essence, give plentiful hold 
to our antagonists. The Roman Church smiles when it 
hears Bishops talk as if all the loose charges about the 
State-created Church of the sixteenth century were per- 
fectly true ; as if, were the connection between Church and 
State snapped, the English Church would cease at once 
to exist 

Two years later at the Conference of 1870 the Bishop's 
note was not so high or hopeful ; it was no longer the 
brave and fearless call of a resolute leader, but a slightly 
plaintive appeal to his followers to bestir themselves and 
** save the Church." The Irish Church had just been dis- 
established, though not by any means disendowed, by 
Parliament, and at Rome the Vatican Council had pushed 
antagonism a stage farther on its irreconcilable course. 
In that year, referring to the deaths which had taken 
place, he says, " There are dark shades in the losses we 


have sustained; there are brighter shadows" (a strange 
but not unnatural phrase, one which a painter would have 
approved) " in those we have secured : we have recruited 
our strength as well as we could possibly have hoped," 
He is referring to the help he had just obtained from 
Bishop McDougall. 

The Conferences of 1868 attracted their full share of 
attention in the Church and Press. The Record news- 
paper, never completely reconciled with the Bishop, though 
in its terror lest liberal bishops should be appointed it had 
accepted, four years before, the nomination with certain 
satisfaction, now made a fierce attack on him for his 
utterances, declaring that their tendency was all in the 
direction of sacerdotalism, and that such Diocesan Con- 
ferences only gave high churchmen a stage whereon to 
advertise themselves. The attack seems to have touched 
the Bishop in a sensitive part. There is a letter to him 
from Dean Stanley, characteristic of the way in which he 
regarded such newspaper attacks : — 

"Deanery, Westminster, December 11 /A, 1868. 

" My dear Lord, — I am much obliged for your letter. 
I had perceived that the Record had been attacking you, 
but had been too much accustomed to its fictions in my 
own case to pay any attention to them in the case of any 
one else. However, it is, I believe, always worth while to 
give a direct contradiction to falsifications oifact, I once 
did when, after having delivered a eulogy on Calvin in a 
public lecture, I was accused by the Record of having said 
that * he was an incarnation of the devil.* 

" Yours sincerely, 

" A. P. Stanley." 

And the late Archbishop of Canterbury also wrote to 
comfort him : — 

" I have read your printed letter. It is atrocious that 
you should be exposed to the misrepresentations which 


have been circulated. Every one who knows you takes 
them at their true value, but of course there are people 
who believe whatever they read in a newspaper, especially 
if it has the effect of compromising a Bishop. 

" Ever yours, 

« A. C. London." 

The truth is that the Bishop's sensitive nature made 
him feel far too acutely the sting even of such criticisms 
as might from time to time appear in the " religious " 
journals. It was this delicacy of feeling, in a man whose 
whole nature yearned for sympathy, and who in all his 
dealings was scrupulously and sometimes magnanimously 
just and charitable, which made Bishop Browne's position 
in the theological troubles of the time one of singular 
interest. He did what he saw to be right, though he knew 
that he must thereby come under the censure and criti- 
<:ism of those with whom he mostly thought and acted. 
In and through all we feel that we are dealing with a man 
strengthened even to heroism by the power of the gospel 
of Jesus Christ. 




WHILE Harold Browne was still Norrisian Professor 
he had taken an active part in the controversy over 
Bishop Colenso's writings. In knowledge, moderation of 
tone, and acceptance with Church people, he had by far 
the best of it ; even those who were inclined to sympathise 
with Bishop Colenso's views still regretted his manner of 
setting them forth, and the haste with which he drew his 

This was the first period of the debate, which then 
circulated round the Divinity of Christ and of the Inspira- 
tion of Holy Scripture. It was, at the outset, a theological 
controversy ; as, however, the innovating party was headed 
by a Bishop, it was clear that ere long other matters would 
come under discussion, and the relation of the Bishop of 
Natal to his own diocese, to the Bishop of Cape Town, 
to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, to the 
Houses of Convocation, and lastly to the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, as head of the Anglican community, would 
have to be carefully considered. The Church of England, 
little accustomed to real self-government, was at a loss to 
see how the difficulty should be met. The expansion of 
the Empire, and the vigorous efforts made by the Church 
to occupy the ground, had created some difficult problems, 

290] bishop colenso. 291 

which called for solution ; and lastly, the ill-defined relations 
between colonial Bishops and the mother-Church, and the 
uncertainty as to the relations between the chief Bishop 
in a colony and other Bishops around him, provided ample 
scope for discord, were any critical case to arise. And 
then, where did appeals lie ? Convocation was but lately 
restored to life, and could show no precedents ; the authority 
of the Primate had never been tested by a difficult case ; 
the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council could deal 
with questions solely from the legal side ; and, finally, every 
Bishop had claims of jurisdiction and of independence 
within his own diocese. Can we wonder that the affair 
of the Bishop of Natal sooa took a complex and difficult 
character? Orthodox persons of repute hesitated long 
before they committed themselves to any line of action ; 
some in the end even felt bound to resist the efforts 
being made to exclude Bishop Colenso from his See. The 
high view taken of the episcopal office by Bishop Harold 
Browne made him very cautious when it was a question 
of the deposition or excommunication of a Bishop. And 
there was real need for care ; Bishop Browne knew how 
easily earnest men, ignorant of, or indifferent about,, 
the constitutional aspect of theological questions, might 
commit serious injustice ; nothing so certainly called for his 
protest as the sight of men moving on unconstitutional 
lines even towards the goal he himself was aiming at. In 
the early part of 1863 Professor Browne had seen just 
such a case of zeal outrunning discretion. The Archdeacon 
of Taunton had moved in Convocation for a Committee to 
consider the Bishop of Natal's writings, and in the course 
of his speech had expressed himself in strong language, 
proclaiming that he desired this Committee, not to 
enquire into the case, but simply to condemn the writen 
Hereupon Professor Browne, feeling it most important that 


the man and the book should be treated fairly, and not 
be "condemned first and tried afterwards," wrote to the 
Archdeacon to suggest that as he had . expressed himself 
so strongly he would do well not to be chairman of his 
Committee, but should allow some more neutral person to 
take the chair, and so avoid all suspicion of unfairness. 
The Archdeacon was not likely to take this view of the 
case. He replied that there were three parties in Convoca- 
tion ; the first, to which he himself belonged, was the 
majority, who held it to be the duty of Convocation to 
take formal notice of heretical books ; the second, the 
party which, without questioning the right of Convocation 
to do this, made difficulties about exercising it; and 
thirdly, the party which thought that under no circum- 
stances ought Convocation to revive the old usage of 
dealing with heretical books. The committee of nineteen, 
he said, had ten members of the second and third class, 
and only nine of the first ; and therefore it was necessary 
for him to be chairman ; otherwise the accused person 
would escape. In other words, condemnation, not trial, 
was his aim. How a dispassionate observer regarded the 
results of this committee's sittings may be learnt from a 
letter, dated May 2Sth, 1863, from the late Bishop of 
Carlisle, then Dean of Ely, to his Bishop on the subject. 
He writes: — 

" On thinking of our Convocation Report I am con- 
vinced that we made a mistake in initio — we ought not to 
have allowed Denison, or anyone, to present a report cut 
and dried, prepared before any communication with the 
committee. I think we should have met as in a Cambridge 
Syndicate, and talked the matter over, and then com- 
missioned one of our body to draw up a rough sketch of 
a Report in conformity with the views agreed upon. As 
it was, we were hampered throughout by the necessity of 
purging the report from Denison's extravagances, and were 


prevented from giving our attention to the construction of 
a really good report. It is curious on looking over the 
document to observe how little of Denison*s original work 
remains, and that part about the worst of the report. 

" Yours sincerely, 

" H. Goodwin." 

When Bishop Gray first went out to the Cape in 1847 
he took with him letters patent granting him coercive 
jurisdiction in his diocese ; he also claimed and used the 
somewhat uncertain title of " Metropolitan of South 
Africa," so asserting a spiritual and general jurisdiction, 
which he had no legal power of enforcing. The letters 
patent came before the Judicial Committee of the Privy 
Council in 1863 (in the case of Long z;. Bishop of Cape 
Town), and the Committee gave the following decision : — 

"That the Bishop's letters patent being issued after 
constitutional government had been established in the 
Cape of Good Hope, were ineffectual to create any 
jurisdiction, ecclesiastical or civil, within the Colony, even if 
it were the intention of the letters patent to create such a 
jurisdiction, which they think doubtful." 

And this decision was afterwards confirmed by the same 
body, when the case of the Bishop of Natal was brought 
before it in 1864 and 1865. 

"After establishment of an independent legislature in 
the Cape of Good Hope and Natal," they say, " there was 
no power in the Crown by virtue of its prerogative to 
establish a Metropolitan see or province, or to create an 
ecclesiastical corporation, whose status, rights, and authority 
the colony would be required to recognise." 

When the question as to the right of Bishop Colenso to 
his stipend from the Colonial Bishoprics' Council came 
before Lord Romilly, Master of the Rolls, he decided that 
the Bishop was entitled to it ; though he proceeded to 
explain the judgment of the Judicial Committee in terms 


which practically reversed it. Thereupon the Colonial 
Office consulted the law officers of the Crown, and acting 
on their advice, ignored Lord Romilly's dictum ; holding 
that the decision of the Judicial Committee was the last 
word in the controversy, and that no Judge could invalidate 
it by a later dictum. 

• The outcome of the discussion before the Judicial Com- 
mittee was this : that no Bishop (unless he be a Patriarch 
or an Archbishop) has a right to summon another Bishop 
to his court or to hold a court on him ; that each Bishop 
in a province is the equal of every other Bishop in it ; and 
that the chief Bishop in the province (whether chief through 
his own standing or through position of his See) is only 
"primus inter pares,'* and can be no more. Whence it 
follows that, in the opinion of the English law, a colonial 
Bishop, in a colony enjoying a constitution of its own, 
holds a very independent position in relation to all other 
Bishops in that colony, and cannot be removed by any 
one of them, or by all of them in Synod assembled, from 
the legal possession of his See. 

. This, it will be understood, was a very grave and difficult 
position. What was to happen were a Bishop convicted 
of some serious moral offence, or if he neglected his 
duties, or if he preached or published heresies ? The truth 
is that in these newly-established Churches these matters 
had never been brought to test ; it had been thought 
enough to bring the missionary work at the Cape under 
some episcopal supervision, without attempting to define 
these questions or to decide wherein lay the ultimate 
authority over the Bishops. The matter was much com- 
plicated also by the semi-established position of the Church 
of England in the dependencies and colonies of the Crown. 
The abolition of Established Churches in the colonies was 
very much advanced by the Colenso troubles. Bishop 


Colenso was accused of having published erroneous views 
on the sufficiency and inspiration of Holy Scripture, 
and on our Lord's divinity. Here was ground enough for 
alarm. No wonder that the question was asked, "Who 
can bring this to trial? to whom is a colonial Bishop 
responsible ? Is it possible that a man can impugn vital 
doctrines and endanger the English Church in his diocese, . 
and yet that there should be no tribunal before which 
he can be brought ? " 

The posture of affairs seemed alarming and evan absurd. 
The colonial Churches had hardly created any ecclesiastical 
constitutions for themselves ; and even if they did, for the 
emergency, meet in Synod, it would be very hard to say 
what were their powers, and whether they had any 
authority over one of the Bishops of the province. On the 
other hand, an appeal to the Crown, which had appointed 
the accused Bishop, was not regarded with favour. The 
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council has a dreadful 
habit of regarding matters from the point of view of strict 
legality, and it also, being the final court of appeal, is very 
careful as to the accused, giving him the benefit of every 
doubt, and in spiritual questions interpreting all documents, 
rubrics, statements of dogma, rules of Church government, 
as widely as possible. It is therefore naturally unpopular 
among those who hold that theological questions ought to 
be decided by theological persons, and especially distasteful 
to those who think that heretics should first be con- 
demned by the spirituality, and after that handed over 
to the secular arm for punishment The accused therefore 
like the Crown, and fly for refuge to it ; the attacking party 
think that the Crown, in its legal aspect, can have no 
knowledge of or right to judge respecting matters of faith, 
and refuse to submit their causes to it. In the case of 
Bishop Colenso this was made remarkably clear. He had 


been appointed by the Crown, and the Crown in this year 
1863 had denied to the Bishop of Cape Town any rights 
as Metropolitan ; he therefore appealed to the authority 
which had granted him his letters patent Bishop Gray, 
however, refused absolutely to submit the case to the 
lawyers at home, and sought to create his own tribunal 
as Metropolitan, and by it to force Bishop Colenso into 

Besides the Crown and the colonial Church there were 
two other authorities, the Archbishop of Canterbury as 
head of the English Church, and the Houses of Convo- 
cation ; both of which were appealed to in the course of 
this long controversy. 

Bishop Gray had one distinct advantage throughout 
He knew his own mind. No one could doubt his complete 
sincerity ; he was strong, determined, resolute, and some- 
what narrow ; such a man will boldly venture on vigorous 
action, and defend it fearlessly. The same qualities which 
go to make a successful general are, however, not the best 
for bringing a Church out of a difficult and complicated 
situation. " Athanasius contra mundum " (in which "mun- 
dum " is the State) has an awkward part to play, and finds 
himself caught in the strong meshes of legal obligation, 
which he abhors, yet cannot escape from, in spite of all his 
resolution and vigour. 

Bishop Gray began by taking steps which at once made 
a collision inevitable. He shut his eyes to the legal 
decision of the Privy Council, which had cancelled his 
letters patent, and, standing on his supposed Metropolitan 
powers, summoned Bishop Colenso to appear before him 
and submit to trial. The Bishop of Natal naturally de- 
murred to this step, refused to appear, protested against 
the validity of the whole proceeding, and appealed to the 
Archbishop of Canterbury. The decision of the Privy 


Council on the case Long z/. Bishop of Cape Town was 
by this time known in Africa, so that Bishop Gray could 
claim only a general metropolitical authority which he hoped 
to enforce over the Bishop of Natal ; accordingly, when that 
prelate refused to appear, the Bishop of Cape Town pro- 
nounced against him a formal sentence of deprivation on 
December i6th, 1863 > giving him till April i6th, 1864, in 
which to retract his appeal to the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury. To this Bishop Colenso replied by addressing a 
letter direct to the Crown, praying Her Majesty to grant 
him protection against this invasion of his rights " till the 
letters patent granted to him should be cancelled by due 
process of law for some sufficient cause of forfeiture, and 
praying for a declaration of the nullity of the Bishop of 
Cape Town's powers and proceedings." The two Bishops 
came over to England in the course of 1864, and brought 
the strife to a more definite issue. Her Majesty in Council, 
through the Judicial Committee, took the matter into 
consideration on June 27th, 1864 ; it came on again in the 
following December. Bishop Gray and Bishop Colenso 
were both represented by counsel ; the former under pro- 
test, denying that Her Majesty in Council had any juris- 
diction in the matter, or that any appeal lay from his act 
of deposition either to the Queen or to the Privy Council. 

Judgment was given by Lord Westbury on March 20th, 
1865 ; and, though exception may be taken to the way in 
which he handled the matter, there can be no doubt that 
the decision was legally correct. It again declared the 
Bishop of Cape Town's letters patent to be null and void, 
and laid it down that the law of England recognised no 
such authority as he claimed; that his metropolitical 
rights could not be acknowledged by the law; and that 
the deposition of one Bishop by another was legally null 
and void also. It became clear that in all matters of 


discipline Churches in self-ruling colonies would have to 
create their own laws and regulations. It was also clear 
that the relations between Church and State were beginning 
to enter on an entirely new phase, now that the Queen in 
Council declared that she did not recognise these spiritual 
persons, or regard them as being under those limitations 
and restrictions which have been placed by the State round 
the action of the Church at home. 

The Natal clergy now on the whole declared warmly 
against Bishop Colenso, and expressed their sympathy 
with Bishop Gray. In England also the Houses of 
Convocation were much moved. They thanked Bishop 
Gray, and dissevered themselves from the Bishop of 
Natal's writings. While however they rejoiced in the 
stand made against false doctrine, they carefully avoided 
affirming the legality of the proceedings taken by the 
Bishop of Cape Town. The Upper House was naturally 
very sensitive as to the rights and position of a Bishop 
within his See, and would not say that the somewhat 
shadowy " Metropolitical " authority of the Bishop of Cape 
Town enabled him to depose a neighbouring Bishop. 
While Convocation strongly condemned Bishop Colenso's 
books, it hesitated to advise that proceedings should be 
taken at law against the author. All the Bishop of Cape 
Town's urgency could not elicit from Convocation more 
than a general statement of disapproval of Bishop Colenso's 
opinions, and of warm sympathy with his opponent: it 
never committed itself, then or later, to an actual approval 
of the steps Bishop Gray had so boldly taken. 

Matters could not rest here : towards the end of 1865, 
the Bishop of Natal returned to his diocese, determined 
to defy his neighbour, and to officiate, as usual, in his 
Cathedral Church. Hereon Bishop Gray threatened him 
with excommunication ; and, as he refused to give way, 


on January Sth, 1866, the Dean of Maritzburg read, 
from the Cathedral altar, the sentence of the greater 
excommunication against John William Colenso. 

As Bishop Colenso refused to submit to either depriva- 
tion or excommunication, a schism in the Church of South 
Africa appeared imminent, for a certain minority clung to 
him, and the natives ever remembered the manly way 
in which he had been their friend and champion. The 
Bishop of Cape Town now, in combination with the 
Dean of Maritzburg, submitted to the Convocation of 
the Province of Canterbury three questions : — 

I. "Whether the Church of England holds communion 
with Dr. Colenso and the heretical Church he is seeking 
to establish in Natal, or whether it is in communion with 
the orthodox Bishops who in synod declared him to be 
ipso facto excommunicated ? " 2. " Whether the acceptance 
of a new Bishop on the part of the Church in Natal, w|;iilst 
Dr. Colenso still retains the letters patent of the Crown, 
would in any way sever us from the mother Church of 
England?" And 3. "Supposing that the reply to' the 
last question was that they would not so be severed, what 
are the proper steps which the diocese should take to 
obtain a new Bishop ? " 

It is at this point that the influence of the Bishop of 
Ely begins to be felt. He certainly was not prejudiced 
in favour of the Bishop of Natal. Now, however, when 
it appeared to him and the more cool-headed of the 
Engh'sh prelates, that Bishop Gray's course of action was 
fraught with danger to the independence of the epis- 
copate, he intervened, and urged moderate counsels on 
the somewhat heated Upper House. Bishop Wilberforce 
brought forward a motion, warmly urging the Bishops 
to support Bishop Gray. The majority in both Houses 
of Convocation were eager to follow his lead. Four 
Bishops, however, intervened and checked the movement. 


These were the Bishop of London, Dr. Tait; ThirlwalU 
Bishop of St. Davids ; Jackson, Bishop of Lincoln, and 
the Bishop of Ely. They all emphatically condemned 
Colenso's utterances; in principle they sympathised with 
the Bishop of Cape Town, but they urged with great 
force that he was wrong in his method of action. Bishop 
Tait, speaking with that weight and statesmanlike spirit 
which distinguished him, said that there was this fault 
in Bishop Gray's character, that he was not content with 
merely holding his opinions, but that he must try to make 
every other person hold them too. " And therefore I d<J 
not wish to endow him with absolute authority over the 
Church in the colony over which he presides." He then 
goes on to enquire what the Bishop ought to have done ; 
and replies that — 

"his proceedings being declared null and void in law, 
it would be the right course for him to reconsider the 
matter and to endeavour to institute such proceedings as 
may be sustained by law ; and I do not believe that any 
difficulty stands in the way of his pursuing such a course." 

Bishop Harold Browne also strongly urged Convocation 
not to accept the Bishop of Oxford's motion. As the 
speech he made on this occasion is a somewhat memorable 
expression of his constitutional way of looking at Church 
questions, it is here partly reproduced from the Chronicle 
of Convocation for 1866, p. 512. 

After some introductory remarks he points out that 
the House must consider the eflfect of its decision on the 
constitution of the Colonial Church and its future. 

We are asked to endorse Bishop Gray's judgment in 
Synod on Bishop Colenso. This involves the question 
whether the Bishop of Cape Town is legally or eccle- 
siastically Metropolitan of South Africa, and, if so, how 
tar his powers go. It does appear to me to be of great 


consequence for the future prosperity of the Church in the 
colonies, that all questions connected with the establish- 
ment of provinces and Metropolitans in the colonies should 
be carefully weighed before anything is done which should 
fix them for the future." 

He then digresses into the earlier history of Metropolitans, 
and shews how large were the powers of the Archbishop 
of Canterbury as such. He next points out that the 
patent to the Bishop of Natal gave the Bishop of Cape 
Town, as Metropolitan, the same powers as the Archbishop 
has. Under the belief that he had these powers, Bishop 
Gray had acted. But then these powers had been legally 
declared null and void ; so that the Bishop of Cape Town 
really had not the legal authority of the Archbishop of 
Canterbury. Bishop Gray argues that virtually, though 
not l^ally, he still had these powers. But then, he has 
performed acts which are shown to be neither legally valid 
nor constitutional. 

Bishop Gray also claims that there is no appeal from 
him, either to the Archbishop or to the Crown ; and, in 
fact, he claims more for Cape Town than is actually claimed 
and exercised by Canterbury. The Bishop of Ely then 
declares that the Bishops who advised the Crown to 
make Bishop Gray Metropolitan could never have meant 
to give him powers so far-reaching and autocratic, and that 
therefore he has no legal or moral right to claim them. 
"Then comes the whole question, If he is not Metropolitan, 
he could not by right as Metropolitan summon the Synod, 
and the judgment he gives would not be legally or 
ecclesiastically a valid judgment." And, though the Bishop 
holds that Bishop Colenso was heretical, he still cannot 
go so far as Bishop Gray wishes in his motions. If the 
Synod of Canterbury is to endorse all the acts of the 
Synod of Cape Town, that Bishop will have greater powers 


than Canterbury enjoys, and that without appeal. This 
would be most injurious to the Colonies. The Colonial 
Churches in their independent state ought to go back to 
the precedents of the Church before Constantine. These 
precedents would not carry out the claims of the Bishop 
of Cape Town. It would be most dangerous to endorse 
those claims to great powers, to be exercised without 
appeal. The Bishop also shows that it would be doubtful 
to say that the Church refuses to " hold communion with 
Dr. Colenso " and the heretical church ; it is also wrong 
to call him Dk Colenso : he is still Bishop Colenso, 
whether he is Bishop of Natal or not. And he concludes 
by saying : — 

(i) "That I do not like to speak of one who is still a 
Bishop as though he were deprived not only of his diocese 
but of his episcopate ; (2) That I do not like to denounce 
as excommunicate all who, it may be knowingly or it 
may be ignorantly, have communicated with him ; but 
(3) Chiefly, I do not like by this resolution to anticipate 
the future of the Colonial Church, and so possibly involve 
it in greater difficulties." 

Bishop Gray and his friends could not let the matter 
rest here. Convocation, instead of applauding his vigorous 
measures, had passed them by without committing itself to 
either approval or censure ; the tension increased. Bishop 
Colenso invited his accuser to submit the whole matter to 
a proper ecclesiastical tribunal in England ; and to this 
the Bishop of Cape Town replied by refusing to recognise 
the validity of the English Courts or their jurisdiction 
over him in spiritualibus. His view was, apparently, that 
he and his Synod at Cape Town had rightly passed 
judgment on the heresies of a Bishop under him as 
Metropolitan ; that this judgment also excluded the 
condemned Bishop from his temporalities ; and that the 


letters patent of the Crown might be set altogether aside. 
This hopelessly wrong position he held throughout, though 
the law protected Bishop Colenso from some of the effects 
of it In order to secure for the Church people of Natal 
an orthodox bishop, Bishop Gray prepared for two things ; 
first, for an appeal from Convocation to the Lambeth 
Conference (about to be held for the first time in 1867), 
so as to obtain, if he could, the formal approval of the 
whole Anglican Episcopate; and secondly, for the 
appointment of an independent Bishop for Natal, by 
which act he hoped to assert to the world that his 
deprivation of Bishop Colenso had actually vacated the 

The Bishop of London, Tait, whose statesmanlike 
temper was very galling to the hotter spirits in the violent 
controversies of the time, stood out bravely against this 
narrowing of liberty of opinion within the Church. He 
seems too to have understood, as few did, the critical 
nature of the time, in which these young Churches in the 
colonies were feeling their way towards an independent 
life. There was great risk lest, under the influence of 
some strong leader of a provincial Church, the just limits 
within which opinion might oscillate safely should be un- 
wisely narrowed, and orthodoxy guaranteed at the cost 
of thought It was unfortunate that Bishop Colenso's 
language had endangered these essential liberties. It was 
felt that he had strained the endurance of the Church, 
and yet that the measures taken against him were full 
of danger. And so Bishop Tait did a wise thing, which 
nevertheless brought on him violent remonstrance and 
even abuse from those who refused to allow that there 
were two sides to the Colenso question. He endeavoured 
to arrive at an impression as to the state of opinion 
respecting the Colenso difficulty in the colonies. After 


Stating that he considered the moment one of great risk 
to the whole colonial Church, and pointing out that in 
Natal there was one Bishop who was a heretic, and another 
about to be consecrated who, in 'the eye of the law, would 
be schismatic, he threw out the view that the clergy of 
that uneasy diocese ought to be the nominees of the 
Church Missionary Society, placed immediately under the 
Archbishop of Canterbury ; a view which in the actual 
state of colonial liberties, civil and ecclesiastical, was not 
likely to meet with much acceptance. He then issued a 
circular of enquiry, which elicited a mass of evidence as 
to colonial opinion ; shewing that, with the exception of 
the Bishop of Cape Town's own diocese, there was much 
dissatisfaction at the action of that resolute prelate. 
Bishop Tait was thus confirmed in his view that the bulk 
of colonial opinion was unfavourable to Bishop Gray's 
pretensions and acts. Men were not anxious to see the 
colonial Churches shake themselves free from their con- 
nection with the august traditions and vigorous life of 
the Primacy of Canterbury. 

Soon after this, in September 1867, the first "Pan- 
Anglican'* Conference took place at Lambeth. Some of 
the English Bishops, eager above all things for peace, 
desired that the Colenso affair might be excluded from 
discussion. Archbishop Sumner gave them an assurance 
that it should be so, and it was omitted from the pro- 
gramme. But when men are much in earnest it is im- 
possible to keep down matters on which their thoughts 
are fixed. And, consequently, it was not long before > a 
determined effort was made to obtain an expression of 
opinion on the subject. The Bishop of St. David's resisted 
the introduction of this debatable matter, and urged that, 
after the Archbishop had consented to its exclusion, it 
was a breach of faith. The Bishop of New Zealand, Dr. 


Selwyn, thereupon attacked Bishop Thirlwall, because in 
a recently published Charge he had reflected somewhat 
severely on Bishop Gray's proceedings; the Bishop of 
London came to the defence of the Bishop of St. David's ; 
and Bishop Harold Browne followed on the same side 
with a warm eulogy of Bishop Thirlwall, in which he 
declared him to be " not only the most learned prelate in 
Europe, but probably the most learned Prelate who has 
ever presided over any See." 

The effort to keep out the Colenso question failed, and 
a discussion followed. The three or four Bishops who set 
themselves to stem the tide were as temperate as brave. 
The Bishop of Oxford circulated for signature a paper 
against Colenso. This neither Bishop Tait nor the Bishop 
of Ely would sign, "on the ground that a Metropolitan 
had no power to depose a Bishop, as Gray had done, even 
under pure ecclesiastical law." 

To the Bishop of Tennessee Bishop Harold Browne 
addressed a letter in which he lays down the principles 
on which he, and the other Bishops in opposition, regarded 
the whole matter. The letter was not written for some 
time after the Congress. 

" Ely House, April 28/A, 1868. 

"My dear Friend and Brother,— You asked me 
once to put on paper what I said to you about the Natal 
question. I believe it was nearly as follows : 

" Supposing the Church of South Africa to be now no 
more a part or dependency of the Church of England than 
the Episcopal Church of Scotland or the Protestant 
Episcopal Church of America; then, if the Bishop of 
Cape Town, as Metropolitan or presiding Bishop, informs 
me that one of the South African Bishops has been ex- 
communicated and deposed, and that another Bishop has 
been elected and consecrated in his room, I should have 
no more hesitation in accepting and acting on such in- 
formation than I should have if the like information were 



given me by the presiding Bishop of the Church in the 
IJnited States. I should consider the deposed Bishop as 
not to be admitted into my diocese, and I should acknow- 
ledge the Bishop consecrated in his room. 

" The present difficulty, however, is of a different kind 
The Bishop of Cape Town has appealed to the English 
Bishops and the English Convocations to pronounce 
upon the spiritual validity of the deposition of Bishop 

" Now, there lies no appeal from the Bishops of South 
Africa and the Synod of South Africa to the Bishops or 
Synods of the Primacies of Canterbury and York. At the 
same time, I do not deny that, when there is a grievous 
heresy in an infant Church, the Bishops of that Church 
may reasonably ask for sympathy and countenance from 
Churches in communion with them. I am therefore willing 
to express all possible sympathy with the suffering Church 
of South Africa, and to state my own opinion that Bishop 
Colenso is bound in all good faith to withdraw from a 
position which he cannot hold consistently with his ordi- 
nation vows. 

" But then, the Bishops of South Africa ask that the 
English Bishops and the English Convocations should 
pronounce authoritatively on the validity of the deposition. 
This, I believe, involves questions of the gravest difficulty. 
I am quite willing to accept the deposition as stated to 
me by the authorities by whom it was pronounced. But 
if I am asked to declare, in my own person and in my 
place as a Bishop, that the deposition was legal and valid, 
I feel that all the knotty questions concerning Metro- 
political power, and the right of a Metropolitan to depose 
his comprovincial Bishops, and the exact nature of the 
proceedings at Cape Town, must be entered into. The 
distinction between * legal' and 'spiritual' deposition is 
surely a distinction without a difference. If a Bishop be 
deposed according to the laws and canons of the Church, 
legally binding on that Church, he is truly, legally, canoni- 
cally, spiritually deposed. If he be not legally and 
canonically deposed, then he cannot be spiritually deposed. 
That which is bound on earth, by the lawful authority of 
those empowered to bind, is also bound in Heaven. Hence, 
I am unable to see that it is a simple and easy thing to 
say whether a person has been spiritually deposed, leaving 
further questions of legal deposition to ecclesiastical courts. 


If a person be deposed by a tribunal having authority to 
depose, there being no appeal, or no appeal being instituted, 
then he is spiritually deposed, and not otherwise. This 
is universally true in Churches not established, as much 
as in those which have more or less union with a State. 
I believe it is agreed by all canonists that the deposition 
of a Bishop is very far from being a simple thing. Jure 
dtvinOy a Bishop has no spiritual superior on earth ; Jure 
ecclesiasticoy he may have an ecclesiastical superior ; but 
that ecclesiastical superior certainly had no deposing power 
till there arose that very tangled relation between the civil 
and ecclesiastical authorities which was inaugurated by the 
accession of the Roman Emperor to the Christian faith, 
and which the Church materially modified by encouraging 
appeals to the Roman See. There is good reason to think 
that in the mediaeval Church no deposition of a Bishop 
was valid without the authority of the Pope. In the 
Reformed Church of England there exists the very compli- 
cated case of the deposition of Watson, Bishop of St. 
David's. There are many reasons why this cannot be a 
perfect precedent in the present instance. It seems neces- 
sary, if possible, to determine what would have been the 
process where neither imperial nor papal authority could 
have come in to supplement metropolitical power, i,e.y before 
the Council of Sardica, and perhaps even before the Council 
of Nice. 

" I may of course be wrong in seeing all these difficulties. 
You know me well enough not to doubt that I hold all 
heresy in dread. Yet I would rather leave it to the Judge 
of all men to vindicate His own truth, than attempt to 
decide on a question laden with such important conse- 
quences, and to pronounce a decision with imperfect means 
of forming a judgment 

" I have never doubted the high Christian motives of the 
Bishop of Cape Town and of his comprovincial Bishops. 
I could earnestly have wished that some of those who 
have thrown themselves into the controversy had not 
been actuated by a desire to destroy that which I believe 
has been to England her greatest blessing, and which can 
only be lost to her with the loss of all that has made her 
religious and great and free. If Anglicanism fails as 
Gallicanism has failed, the choice left to us here and in 
Europe will be between Romanism and Rationalism. 
There are not a few who desire this ; and they have made 


free use of this Colenso scandal to advance their designs. 
May the God of truth and peace pardon, preserve, and 
purify us. 

" Believe me ever, my dear Bishop, 

" Your affectionate Brother, 
" E. H. Ely. 
'♦ The Right Rev. The Bishop of Tennessee." 

At this point, as we have now reached the closing scenes 
of this tangled controversy, we may insert (though it was 
written a year and a half before the above letter) a letter 
from Bishop Browne to the Bishop of Cape Town, because 
it contains, in full detail, the principles on which he guided 
his action throughout this troubled time. It is a luminous 
account of his own position, and shows how tenaciously he 
clung to the established rules of Church order. 

"Ely, September 1866. 

" My dear Lord,— I am very sorry I could not answer 
your letter by the last post. I quite see how those amongst 
us who expressed ourselves as wishing for time to con- 
sider the questions you submitted to us, may appear to you 
lukewarm and unfaithful. As regards the charge of igno- 
rance which our brother of Oxford somewhat hastily made 
against us, I am satisfied to be in the same boat with the 
Bishop of St David's, whom I believe to be without any 
comparison the most learned prelate in Christendom, both 
in sacred and profane learning. As to other matters, I 
can most solemnly protest, that I am neither indifferent 
to the troubles and trials of the Church in South Africa^ 
nor heedless of the terrible advances of heresy and infidelity 
which threaten us both at home and abroad. But I believe 
that never were graver or more difficult questions submitted 
to the Synod of Canterbury than those which you submitted 
to us, and I was very unwilling that they should be 
answered hastily. 

** We are entering on an entirely new era, at least as 
regards the colonial Church and its whole future ; perhaps 
the whole future of Christendom may be affected by what 
is doing now. The colonial Church is, as I think, placed 
in a position in which no Church has been since Constantine 


made Christianity the religion of the Empire. This very 
materially influences the question, which concerns the 
power of Metropolitans and of Provincial Synods. 

" The history of Metropolitans I take to be this. There 
is very little evidence of the existence of Metropolitans for 
the first three centuries. Without doubt we find certain 
Bishops, those of Rome especially, of Antioch, Alexandria, 
Carthage, etc, taking a lead or primacy among their 
brother Bishops. The thirty-fourth Canon of the Canons of 
the Apostles (Canons of doubtful authority and of uncertain 
date, though reverenced from their traditional name) 
speaks of one Bishop as a Primus in his nature, and bids 
other Bishops esteem him as their head, do nothing of great 
Tuomexiiy prcBter illius sententiam^ but only do those things 
which concern their own dioceses and their subject Pagi, 
enjoining at the same time the Primus to do nothing absque 
omnium sententia. This is the first synodical (if it be 
synodical) confirmation of anything like metropolitical 
authority. In the Council of Nice, A.D. 325, provinces, 
the constitution of Bishops of the provinces, and confirm- 
ation by the Metropolitan, are recognised by Canon IV. 
Excommunication to be by all the Bishops of a province is 
enjoined by Canon IV. The four great Metropolitans of 
Alexandria, Rome, Antioch, and iElia are recognised in 
Canons VI., VII. In the Council of Chalcedon, A.D. 451, 
Constantinople is given the same honour as Rome (Canon 
XXVIII.), whilst Canon IX. has this remarkable provision : 
* If a cleric has a controversy with a Bishop, he shall be 
judged by the Provincial Synod. If a Bishop or cleric 
has a controversy with a Metropolitan^ he shall appeal to the 
Patriarch or to the throne of the Imperial City (i,e., either 
Rome or Constantinople).' These were the decrees of 
general councils concerning Metropolitans. The Council 
of Antioch (a great council, not CEcumenical, not generally 
acknowledged, held A.D. 341, seventeen years after Nice) 
says (Canon IX.): *Oportet Episcopos nihil momenti 
aggredi absque sententia Metropolitani, nee ipse sine sen- 
tentia religiosorum Episcoporum, vide Can, XXXIV. * ; 
which is supposed to be a reference to the Canon of the 

" These Canons appear to me to constitute the charter 
of Metropolitans in tiie first five centuries ; all of them, 
however, except Canon XXXIV. of the Apostles, are sub- 
sequent to the adoption of Christianity by the Empire. 


You will observe, too, that all of them enjoin Metropolitans 
to do nothing without their brother Bishops, as much as 
they enjoin Bishops to do nothing without their Metro- 
politans; and the Fourth General Council of Chalcedon 
expressly provides for an appeal to the Patriarch. 

" After ages gave, no doubt, far greater power to Metro- 
politans. There arose a more regular system of successive 
steps in the ministry, — minor orders, then deacons, priests, 
bishops, metropolitans, patriarchs, pope. The latter in 
Europe absorbed all ultimate power. The Archbishop of 
Canterbury, however, was of patriarchal authority, called 
by the Pope alterius orbis Papa, and said by great lawyers 
to have had a jurisdiction equal to that of the patriarch of 
Constantinople (Chief Justice Holt in Lacy v. Bishop of 
St. David's). Accordingly, in the case of the Bishop 
of St David's, Watson, it was held that he had power to 
depose after trial his suffragans, though not without appeal 
All this access of power to Patriarchs and Metropolitans 
grew up after, and generally owing to, the connection with 
the Empire and the State. 

Now the Crown, advised by the Bishops, attempted to 
confer on the Bishop of Cape Town metropolitical power 
equal to that of Canterbury (neither Crown nor Bishop 
knew what was meant by this). They triedy but according 
to the judgment of the Privy Council they failed ; for it was 
ultra vires, ^he Crown could not give coercive jurisdic- 
tion in South Africa, either to a Bishop or to a Metropolitan. 
The patent, therefore, so far as coercive jurisdiction goes, 
is null and void. It is argued that, though the Canon did 
not give it, the Church, as represented by the English 
Bishops, meant to give it. But intention is not act It 
was never legally or ecclesiastically conferred by Crown or 

" It is said, again, that Canon XXXIV. of the Apostles 
and Canon IX. of Antioch establish the principle that there 
shall be a Metropolitan in every nation, who shall do nothing 
without the other Bishops, and without whom the other 
Bishops shall do nothing of moment. On this ground it is 
said the Bishop of Cape Town without any appointment 
became Metropolitan. I have no wish to dispute this, 
though it may be open to dispute. But what I wish to 
point out is, that this necessarily throws us back to 
primitive times. Papal power, the power of the Regale, and 
all such powers, are repudiated as r^ards our colonial 


Churches. That great fabric of bishops, metropolitans, 
patriarchs, with a doubtful and disputed authority of sove- 
reigns and popes or oecumenical patriarchs above them all, 
has crumbled away. It can never be right to pick up 
fragments of it and call them a whole temple. Where can 
we go but to the example of the Church before Con- 
stantine, at all events before Papal usurpation ? I should 
say before either, when neither the Crown nor the Pope 
claimed to be the ultimate resort in all cases ecclesiastical. 
In the English Church at home there may be no danger 
from the immense authority of the Archbishop as shown in 
the above cited case (of Lacy v. Bishop of St. David's), 
because there is an appeal from the regularly constituted 
court of the Archbishop to a Final Court of Appeal, if not, 
in the case of a Bishop, to the House of Lords also. But 
at present South Africa has no appeal from its Metropolitan 
to the Patriarch, to a great Council, or to a Final Court. 
If the Metropolitan has an authority equal to the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, it is an absolute authority without 
appeal. And this is some excuse for Bishop Colenso in 
refusing to submit to the Bishop of Cape Town, after he had 
admitted him to be Metropolitan. He took the oath on 
a false representation. He swore obedience to the Bishop 
of Cape Town, believing that an appeal lay from him to 
Canterbury, and thence to the Final Court. All which has 
been quashed by the late decision. I conclude, therefore, 
that primitive examples and primitive principles may be 
resorted to, if the colonial Church is not to go altogether 
wrong. Now primitive principles are partly exhibited in 
the Canons I have quoted above, but there is another Canon 
which greatly illustrates them, and which specially bears 
on the African Church. In the great Council of Carthage, 
held A.D. 348, attended by Bishops from every province of 
Africa^ it was decreed by universal consent (Canon XL) that 
a Bishop should not be judged by fewer than twelve Bishops, 
" Now, my dear Lord, all this has led me to think, not 
that your sentence was unjust, but that it is very doubtful 
whether, on principles of law civil or ecclesiastical, a 
Metropolitan, in a Church neither Papal nor established 
by law, with only one Bishop of his own province and one 
Bishop out of the province as assessors, has power to depose 
or excommunicate an heretical Bishop. It may be said 
and is said, that great emergencies require prompt measures. 
But they must be constitutional and legal measures or you 


defend the faith in a single instance and condemn a single 
heretic at the risk of introducing a system of misrule and 
subverting all great principles of right We read history 
to no purpose if we do not see that great and good men 
in their zeal to extirpate heresy in the fourth, fifth, and 
sixth centuries raised up a power intended to crush error, 
but which for many centuries after stifled truth. There 
is as thick a shadow now passing over the Church as ever 
arose before the darkness of the Papacy settled on it. I hold 
that it is not cowardice, but farseeing caution, that would 
try to disperse it by falling back on the light of primitive 
truth. It is very painful to me to differ in any way from 
you when I so highly esteem your zeal for the faith of 
Christ ; but I dare not act against my own strong 
convictions of right 

" I am, my dearest Lord, 

" Yours very truly, 

" E. H. Ely. 
*<To THE Lord Bishop of Cape Town." 

To this long and weighty statement of his views the 
Bishop of Cape Town replied by reasserting his position in 
strong terms, though he does not endeavour to traverse 
Bishop Browne's arguments. It will be seen at once how 
wide a gulf yawned between the two prelates ; Harold 
Browne, champion of order, appealing to law and precedent 
and the structure of the Church ; Bishop Gray claiming to 
go behind all such matters, as savouring of the " Erastian " 
character of Anglicanism, and endeavouring to build 
himself upon Canon Law. It was the natural difference 
between an " established Bishop " at home and a colonial 
Bishop eager to be entirely emancipated from State con- 
trol. No wonder that Dean Stanley, seeing these things 
and whither they led, was one of the most determined 
supporters of a Church " as by law established." It seemed 
to him that a disestablished Church of England might be 
the death of all intellectual life and freedom of treatment 
of theological questions by religious persons. 




In his reply the Bishop of Cape Town claims to rule 
over his Church (not only over his diocese, but, as 
Metropolitan, over the whole South African Church) by 
the rules of Canon Law, as it was " received in England 
in the seventh and eighth centuries by the ecclesiastical 
and temporal powers." By that law, he says, the 
Metropolitan sitting in his Provincial Synod had power 
to deprive a Suflfragan ; and " after Canon Law," Bishop 
Colenso, as he did not appeal, was actually deprived. It 
must be remembered that this was the true point at issue ; 
for Colenso altogether challenged the jurisdiction, first 
declaring that he refused to be ruled by Canon Law, and, 
secondly, denying that he was a Suffragan of the Cape 
Town Metropolitan. Throughout Bishop Gray's reply his 
scorn for the legal aspects of the case appears. " I have 
no faith in lawyers," he cries. "A few days among the 
Canonists will do more for us than all their legal knowledge." 
The constitutional aspects of the case were in his eyes of 
no importance: he felt that he was constructing a new 
edifice ; that the old rules and methods applied no longer ; 
that such opinions as Dr. Colenso's would be fatal ; that 
the new Church in the Colonies must shake itself free from 
the patronage and trammels of the State, from the taint 
of "the lawyers." His language is strong, his mind made 
up, his aim a noble if a narrow one ; but argument there 
is none, and his denunciations of Bishop Colenso as a man 
whose teaching is anti-Christian, and as one who does 
not believe in the Godhead of our Lord, shew the spirit 
in which he was prepared to break through all bonds — 
cobwebs he would have called them — by which the legal 
and constitutional mind in England was endeavouring to 
control his movements, and to see that justice should 
be done. 

Bishop Harold Browne's constitutional and somewhat 


technical way of defending the rights of Bishops was sure 
to give much offence to partisans. A gentleman of some 
learning and great zeal for orthodoxy, Dr. Littledale, wrote 
to him to assure him that his opinions were unsound on 
the subject of the Eucharist, and ends with the following 
piece of intolerance : — 

" I conclude by saying that under ordinary circumstances 
I should think myself bound to publish this correspondence; 
but I fear in the present crisis that such a persistent 
determination to close an open question and to refuse to 
repair an injustice as your Lordship has displayed, would 
unsettle some weak minds, already disturbed by that 
gross misprision of heresy displayed by several members 
of the Episcopate in the Colenso scandal. I therefore 
take a middle course, and will put these letters into the 
hands of a member of the Upper House of Convocation, 
to deal with as he shall think best 

*' February 2<)th, 1868." 

With which awful and indefinite sentence of judgment 
we may leave Dr. Littledale in possession of the field 
The Bishop, so far as we know, made no reply. 

It is interesting, in considering the progress of opinion 
in England, to find that we have also a very different view 
of the case taken by Dean Stanley, whose letters to our 
Bishop, as those of a friend of Bishop Colenso, may 
well appear in this place. He writes from the Deanery, 
Westminster, February i8th, 1868: — 

" My dear Lord, — I venture to address you, as being 
the only Bishop with whom I have held any direct com- 
munication on the subject in question, under an apprehen- 
sion which, if it be mistaken, you will pardon. 

" I gather from the correspondence lately published by 
the Bishop of Cape Town that it is not impossible that 
there may be a private discussion amongst the Bishops 
on the question whether any proceedings should be set 
on foot by them with a view to removing the Bishop of 


Natal from his post on the ground of theological opinions, 
for which he was condemned by the Bishop of Cape 

" It would be presumption in me to make any remarks 
on the propriety of such a course in itself. But I think 
it only due to myself, and to the interests involved, to 
point out to your Lordship, and to ask your Lordship to 
point out to the other prelates who may be concerned, 
that in the speech on the South African Controversy 
delivered by me in Convocation on June 29th, 1866 (a 
copy of which was transmitted to all the Bishops assembled 
at Lambeth in September last), I have stated that I, in 
common with many other clergymen of the Church of 
England, hold, in principle, the opinions for which the 
Bishop of Natal was condemned in South Africa by the 
Bishop of Cape Town, arid which the Bishop of Cape 
Town has again recapitulated in his recent letters as the 
grounds of Aat condemnation. 

"I refer particularly to pp. 41-59 of my speech, and 
pp. 65-67 of my postscript 

" Your Lordship will understand that I do not call your 
attention to this fact as furnishing any reason why pro- 
ceedings against the Bishop of Natal, if so be, should not 
take effect; but only to show that, in common fairness, 
they must, if instituted at all, take a much wider sweep ; 
and that, if the object be to ascertain the legal position 
of those who hold such views, common sense and Christian 
justice require that this should be ascertained in the case 
not of one who is the subject of much odium and obloquy, 
but of those on whom the same question can be tried 
without the influence of extrinsic and distracting forces, 
such as those to which I have adverted. The kindness 
with which your Lordship received the former communica- 
tions which I had with you on this subject encourages me 
to believe that you will understand the spirit in which I 
now address you, and will at any rate be my apology for 
taking this mode of discharging what I feel to be a duty 
to the Church. I remain, my dear Lord, 

" Yours faithfully and respectfully, 

"A. P. Stanley." 

To this the Bishop replied in a very courteous and 
friendly spirit ; and Dean Stanley resumes the subject in 


a second letter from the Deanery, dated February 13th, 

"My dear Lord, — ^Your letter was even kinder than 
I expected ; but it confirms me still more strongly in the 
desire that you should consider my letter to your Lordship 
as matter to be brought forward in any discussion that 
takes place amongst the Bishops on the theological merits 
of the Natal question. 

" You are good enough to suggest that I do myself and 
the Bishop of Natal injustice by representing myself as 
entirely coinciding with his views. I should agree with 
you on this point But I have taken particular pains in 
my speech and postscript to guard against this (in pp. 
35-40, 50, 54, 64, 70), and in so doing have used terms 
of disparagement towards the Bishop, of which I for one 
hesitate as to their propriety, considering that they are 
used of a Bishop by a presbyter. What I insist on is quite 
a different proposition,— viz., that however much I may 
differ from the Bishop of Natal on other points, I have 
both in previous writings, and especially in my speech 
(pp. 41-60, 65-67), expressed my concurrence (in which I 
have no doubt that hundreds would concur also) with the 
Bishop exactly on those points on which he has been con- 
demned and deposed by the Bishop of Cape Town, and 
which the Bishop of Cape Town has recapitulated clearly 
enough in his recent Letters (pp. 31, 32), though with his 
own hard constructions. I need not do more than refer 
your Lordship to the passages, and I cannot but think 
that you will see the justice of my plea. I have little 
doubt that the Bishop of Cape Town himself (except, it 
may be, from mere motives of policy) would fully admit 
that this was the case; or would, if possible, depose me 
(indeed, for all that I know he may have 'spiritually' 
deposed me already) on the same grounds as those on 
which he has deposed the Bishop of Natal I therefore 
think that my very difference from the Bishop of Natal 
on other points makes it the more incumbent for any 
discussions on this question to take into consideration the 
fact that I, with many other persons, some of whom I have 
cited by name, coincide with the Bishop of Natal on the 
very points on which he has been deposed, and whatever 
consequences flow from such a fact. 


"I have one other point to which I would call your 
Lordship's attention. I cannot but think that, if you look 
at Bishop Colenso's work on the Pentateuch, Part III., 
pp. 25-28, your Lordship will see that his position with 
regard to the questions in the Ordination Service is 
entirely different from that which you suppose, and that 
he takes up what I confess appears to me the only tenable 
position which can be maintained by any one who believes 
that the Bible contains any poetical or parabolical books, 
even without raising any questions as to interpolation or 
accuracy in the prose books. 

"You will, therefore, I hope, see that, whilst I quite 
claim the character of an independent witness who differs 
from the Bishop of Natal on many important points, I 
feel bound to indicate that, on almost all the points (I 
believe all except that of the endless duration of future 
punishment) [for which] the Bishop of Natal has been 
deposed by the Bishop of Cape Town, I have expressed 
concurrence with him, on principle. 

" With many thanks, believe me to be, 
" Yours sincerely, 

"A. P. Stanley." 

After the Canterbury Convocation had recognised the 
validity of the deposition of the Bishop of Natal, it only 
remained for Bishop Gray to make arrangements for the 
election and consecration of a Bishop for the See. It was 
clear that, as the Bishop of Natal refused to resign, the 
upshot of it must be a painful schism, at least for a time, 
in the diocese. This had to be faced ; and Bishop Gray 
felt no hesitation about it The Natal clergy and laity 
who adhered to him and the Dean of Maritzburg elected 
the Rev. W. J. Butler, then Vicar of Wantage, afterwards 
Dean of Lincoln : he, however, declined the nomination. 
They then chose the Rev. W. R. Macrorie, Vicar of 
Accrington, who accepted. The position taken up by the 
four protesting Bishops so far influenced their brethren 
on the Bench, that the Archbishops declined to consecrate 
the prelate-elect ; and the Scottish Bishops, when appealed 


to, after some uncertainty also determined not to commit 
themselves. Consequently (and probably with considerable 
satisfaction at the result) Bishop Gray sailed for the Cape 
in the autumn of 1868, carrying with him his Bishop- 
designate. On January 25th, 1869, in the Cathedral 
Church of Cape Town, Dr. Macrorie was consecrated 
*' Bishop of the Church in Natal and Zululand, in com- 
munion with the Bishops of the province of South Africa, 
and with the Church of England." The new Bishop took 
his title, rightly, from Maritzburg, the town in which his 
Cathedral Church stood, and not from the name of the 
colony. The rift in the Church continued long, though 
after the Bishop of Natal's death the main cause of it 
was removed. It was not till the year 1893, when a new 
Bishop for Natal, the Rev. Hamilton Baynes, was con- 
secrated, that the wound seemed likely to heal up. It 
is pleasing to be able to add, as a kind of epitaph on 
the subject, that when in 1883 tidings came of Bishop 
Colenso's death, our Bishop took notice of it thus in a 
letter to Bishop McDougall :—" I am afraid poor Colenso's 
death will be a great sorrow to Mrs. McDougall and to 
you all. It caused me some pangs of sorrow, for I had 
always a regard for him, though I deplored the course he 

The active controversy lasted about seven years : it had 
marked effects on the relation between colonial Churches 
and the mother-Church of England. What Dr. Gray 
thought of this appears very clearly from the explosion 
of feeling with which he greeted the proposal that Bishop 
Tozer should take the oath of canonical obedience to the 
Archbishop of Canterbury and not to the Metropolitan of 
South Africa. He resisted the same claim in the case 
of Bishop Mackenzie, declaring that he could not be 
received as a Bishop of the province of South Africa if 


he took that oath to the Archbishop of Canterbury. 
Bishop Wilkinson in 1870 did, as a matter of fact, take 
the oath to the Archbishop of York, and the Archbishop 
explained that it was to be transferred to the Metropolitan 
of South Africa by a new oath of obedience to be taken 
to him. Though Bishop Gray objected to this rather 
singular arrangement of oath-transfer, the thing was done 
so, and nothing happened. 

It had long been seen that the attempt to organise the 
missionary and colonial Sees straight from Canterbury, 
and as established Churches, could not last. The clergy- 
reserves in Canada had been left a wilderness, while all 
around them was taken up and cultivated ; it was not 
till the State's hand was removed that the vigour of the 
colonial Churches began to bear fruit. State endowments 
grew unpopular and precarious early in the reign of our 
Queen. The Church in India, hampered and well-nigh 
strangled by the fears and restrictions of the Company, 
slowly and surely won independence ; the lessons of the 
Lambeth Conferences, at which there were far more 
Bishops of unestablished Anglican Churches than those of 
the Established Church, taught the slow-thinking English 
mind that, however excellent at home, an Established 
Church had no charms for either the United States or for 
the self-ruling colonies of the Crown. 

And it was abundantly clear that each provincial Church 
must be allowed, sooner or later, to fashion its own life. 
Statesmen naturally desired to see the colonial Churches 
as closely attached as possible to England, and regretted 
the vehemence with which at times the young communities 
seemed likely to snap the bonds that bound them to the 
little Island in the Western Sea. Still it was seen that 
the conditions of ecclesiastical life in England could not 
be reproduced in the more independent colonies ; and, 


however much we may regret the violence with which the 
Bishop of Cape Town fought his battle, we must allow 
that the effects of the struggle were wholesome, and that 
colonial liberties, conceded so willingly in things temporal, 
could not be denied to Churchmen. The Anglican Church, 
if only it be wise and temperate, will play no mean part 
in the federation of the English-speaking world. But 
ecclesiastically as well as constitutionally, that federation 
must always be held together more by convictions, 
interests, and affection, than by exact and formal 
bonds. The federated States will control their own de- 
velopment; the united Churches will show variations 
suited to the very varied conditions of their work. Yet 
in both Churches and States, essentials will be in unity, 
and the harmony the more genuine by reason of the 
differences in growth and development. In the Churches 
there will be one spirit, though the forms be modified ; 
one main principle of loyalty to the gospel of Jesus 
Christ ; a general unity of form of Church Government ; 
and a communion in worship and faith, which will, let us 
hope and pray, bind us all together in bonds unbreakable 
of Christian charity, effort, and holiness. 

No sooner was this painful controversy at an end than 
the Bishop of Ely found himself involved in another 
difficulty. Dr. Temple, Headmaster of Rugby School, 
author of the first paper in "Essays and Reviews," 
in 1869 accepted the bishopric of Exeter. The bishopric 
of Bath and Wells being vacant at the same time, the 
Crown had appointed Lord Arthur Hervey to it ; and 
the two new Bishops were to be consecrated together. 
Lord Arthur begged that Harold Browne might be 
one of the consecrating prelates, and he consented. No 
sooner was this made known than protests came in. Some 
begged Bishop Browne to take no part in "consecrating 


a Mitre in Essays and Reviews ; " others cried to him to 
beware of the " Septem contra Christum," that mah'gnant 
and unjust parody ; not a few of the clergy of his diocese 
remonstrated — one Rural Dean sent him the terrible threat 
that he would resign his ruridecanal office, and refuse to 
serve any longer under him. There was every symptom 
of a revival of the white heat of passion, and of the white 
pallor of fear, which works even more evil than anger. 
Though he met these outcries with reasonable and charit- 
able replies, the clamour went on to the end. It is not 
reassuring to look back at the rage and terror with which 
the appointment of a single broad-shouldered Churchman 
as Bishop was greeted. 

Bishop Harold Browne, deeply as the turmoil distressed 
him — he says in one letter that the position in which he 
found himself would destroy the effect of all his work at 
Cambridge and Ely, if it did not also shorten his life — 
never for a moment flinched from what he felt to be his 
duty. He endeavoured, naturally enough, to lessen the 
force of the opposition to Dr. Temple's appointment, by 
urging him to sever himself definitely from the other 
writers in " Essays and Reviews." His letter on this point 
makes a good prelude to the correspondence: — 

"Ely, October 18M, 1869. 

"My dear Dr. Temple, — Will you let me say this 
much to you ? You have pardoned me already for saying 
that we have probably differences of opinion. I left my 
boys under your care, and my late revered friend Bishop 
Philpotts told me that he consented that his grandson 
should become a master under you, because your character 
stood so high in all that was honourable and disinterested, 
and you had infused such a very high moral tone into your 

" I, in common with many who so respected you, regretted 
deeply that you wrote in a well-known volume, though 



each writer in that volume claimed limited liability. Still, 
I always hoped you would have told the world what your 
own views were on some of the most burning questions in 
that book. Your own Essay appeared to me not to con- 
tain anything very pronounced, though some say it had 
the germ of all the rest. 

" There is now a great agitation about your nomination 
by the Crown to the See of Exeter. I have no business 
with the question. But I am deeply interested in Exeter. 
I have valued friends in the Chapter. I have a great 
personal regard for yourself. Is there anything unreason- 
able in a Bishop Designate being asked to profess his faith 
for the satisfaction of those who are to elect him, and who 
will be sworn to elect according to their conscience? 
Bishops in old times entering on their dioceses often made 
some profession of faith. 

" You will not like to do so in answer to clamour. That 
I quite appreciate. But I am no clamourer, and I am a 
common friend of yourself and the Chapter. Would there 
be anything out of place in your telling me, so that I 
might tell others, that you not only hold all the Articles of 
the Catholic Creeds, but that you believe and trust in the 
Atoning Sacrifice offered on the Cross, and that you do 
not doubt the special and supernatural inspiration of the 
Prophets and Apostles, not placing that inspiration on the 
level of genius, and so considering St. Paul as only so 
inspired as was Cicero or Shakespeare ? I do not wish to 
put words into your mouth. I may be very presumptuous. 
But this presumption arises from an anxious desire to 
save the Church from another disastrous struggle, and 
to preserve, if it be possible, both its purity and its 

" This letter, if you do not yield to its suggestion, shall 
be private between us. I am not laying a trap for you, 
that you may be obliged to say one thing or the other, and 
so commit yourself I am sure you will not think so. 
But, if my suggestion might help to calm this still increas- 
ing tempest, I should be thankful. 

" Praying you to pardon me if I have overstepped the 
bounds which you will permit to our comparatively slight 
intimacy, I am, my dear Dr. Temple, 

" Yours very sincerely, 

"E. H. Ely." 


Dr. Temple's reply was a very manly and straightfor- 
ward refusal to take any such step : — 

"Rugby, October 21st, 1869. 

" My dear Lord, — I know no one whose advice I 
would more gladly follow than yours, and I have thought 
about your letter a good deal. But I cannot satisfy my 
conscience that it would be right to make, either directly 
or indirectly, any such statement as you suggest. To do 
so would surely be a most dangerous precedent, sure to 
be followed, and sure to have mischievous consequences. 
It would be by no means desirable that every Bishop 
Designate should be called upon to issue a public manifesto 
before taking office. It would be by no means desirable 
that Church parties should be encouraged to clamour by 
the hope of extorting some such declaration. 

"Further, what is gained by a public statement now 
which will not be gained by personal intercourse two 
months hence ? I shall as well be able, I shall better be 
able, to allay all this anxiety then than now. And to do 
it then by quiet personal intercourse will admit of no 
misconstruction. To do it now will wear the appearance 
of doing it not fnv the sake of the Church, but to smooth 
my own course. 

" Nor can I keep myself from a very strong feeling that 
there would be something irreverent in proclaiming my 
belief in such fundamental doctrines as you quote, in order 
to quiet a disturbance. 

" Finally, there is a very real danger in formal statements 
of this kind, the danger of unintentionally deceiving. 
People understand the same words in very different senses. 
And the occasion is too grave to allow us to run such a 

" I have no doubt at all that I shall, if God spare me, 
find means to satisfy the great body of the clergy in the 
West that I am earnestly desiring to serve our Lord, and 
care for His .service beyond everything else on earth. And 
then all this anxiety will pass away. Meanwhile I must 
hold my tongue. 

" Yours very gratefully, 

" F. Temple.' 

The Bishop Designate in fact was not going to shelter 


himself from the storm by deserting his colleagues. Nor 
did he feel himself bound to criticise and condemn their 
contributions. So the matter had to go on without being 
lightened by a disclaimer. Bishop Harold Browne pre- 
sently thought it well to explain his position in the affair 
by means of a letter addressed to his Archdeacons, to 
which he appended his reasons for holding to his promise 
to be one of the consecrating prelates. 

"Palace, Ely, December 16/A, 1869. 

" My dear Mr. Archdeacon, — Having with my 
brethren in general the greatest possible aversion to the 
book called * Essays and Reviews/ and feeling also that 
Dr. Temple is greatly mistaken, and I must add much 
to be blamed, for throwing so heavy a responsibility on 
others, and not relieving it by a few words spoken in 
public, I yet learn both from public and private sources 
that he is personally free from the errors in some portions 
of that book ; and I have great hopes that when he is 
once Bishop of Exeter he will no longer shrink from 
clearing himself from complicity with it 

" I have been named among the Consecrators in the 
Archbishop's Commission, no doubt, from my connection 
with Lord Arthur Hervey, one of the three Bishops to 
be consecrated on the 21st. It has thus become necessary 
for me to decide whether I will join in that consecration, 
or will decline to do so in consequence of Dr. Temple's 
connection with * Essays and Reviews.' I think my 
diocese has a right to know the reasons which guided 
me in this case, and 1 desire to make those reasons known, 
through you. Earnestly praying that the God of truth 
and peace may guide us all at this and other times of 
trial into all truth in all peace and love, 

" I am, etc 
" E. Harold Ely." 

" Reason^. 

" L Dr. Temple's Essay itself does not contain heresy. 

" 2. Each writer actually guards his own limited re- 
sponsibility in it, and Dr. Temple was wholly ignorant 
of the drift and character of the other Essays. 


"3. Though Dr. Temple ought to have taken from it 
the influence of his name, which, in connection with the 
comparatively harmless character of his Essay, gave special 
weight to the volume, yet those who know him best 
attribute his silence to a chivalrous spirit- 

" 4. Though I hold that the Church should have fullest 
assurance of the soundness of every one admitted to the 
ministry, . . . yet I cannot understand, and do not share 
the scruples of, those who think that no declarations ough !: 
to be made except such as are required by the express 
law of the Church. Dr. Temple is a man of so high a 
moral tone, and of such a manly and truthful character, 
that I cannot believe he would sign formularies, etc., with- 
out heartily assenting to them in their natural and literal 

" 5. In Dr. Temple's sermons published we find the 
doctrines which he is thought unaccountably to have 
omitted in his Essay. 

"6. The Convocation of Canterbury has distinguished 
between censure of a book and condemnation of a man 
or men. 

" 7. I believe him to be a man of singular probity, a 
sincere Christian and believer in all the Articles of the 
Christian faith. 

" 8. I accept the status quo of the manner of appoint- 
ment of Bishops. 

"9. PrcBtnunire was intended against the Pope, not 
against Chapters, etc, 

" 10. Chapters would do right, were Government to 
nominate a person of vicious life or of heretical or un- 
believing opinion, ruat ccelum, 

"II. The Exeter Chapter Election is a reality. 

" Therefore I accept the nomination, and propose to take 
part in the Consecration of Bishop Temple." 

A couple of days after this paper was sent to the 
Archdeacons, Bishop Browne once more addressed himself 
to the Bishop Designate, still hoping to persuade him to 
shake himself clear from " Essays and Reviews." 

" Ely, December iStA, 1869. 

" My dear Lord, — I answered your last letter, but did 
not send the answer from fear to trouble you with longer 


correspondence. The extreme anxiety of my position 
induces me to write to you once more. 

" I enclose the copy of a letter which is but one specimen 
of letters which reach me daily. You have said that 
you would not scruple to answer any questions to me 
privately. I really think that, if you knew how I shall 
sacrifice private friendship, public reputation, and perhaps 
all the influence which I now have in my diocese and 
elsewhere by joining in your Consecration, you would feel 
that I have some claim on you for such confidence. 

" I have read your Essay frequently, and I have read 
your sermons, and though I find ambiguous language in 
them, I do not see anything which looks like heresy. 

"The real mischief is this. Your name is a justly 
honoured name. Its appearance in the van of the * Essays 
and Reviews ' has commended the other Essays to the 
acceptance of many. I am assured by my own clergy and 
others that they have witnessed death-beds of hopeless 
infidelity entirely brought on by that volume. I have 
never heard of any doubter being conciliated to Christianity 
or strengthened in his belief by these Essays. Now I 
foresee that that weight which your name has given to 
this book will be greatly increased by your consecration 
to the bishopric of Exeter, if your name, already honoured, 
has the honourable addition to it of a Bishop in Christ's 
Church, and if it still stands at the head of these Essays 
in all future editions without any sign of dissent from 

"The question with me is. Can I rightly contribute to 
giving that additional authority to your name, if I know 
that it will be so used? 

" You know that I gladly welcomed your nomination to 
the bishopric : you know my very high esteem for you, 
and how I shall rejoice to work with you, if all goes well. 
The recent correspondence between yourself and the 
Bishop of Lincoln [Wordsworth] and your private letters 
to me have greatly increased my anxiety. 1 am quite 
ready to bear what I shall bear far more than anyone else^ 
— the blame which will rest on your consecrators, though 
1 expect that it will undo all the work of six years in my 
diocese, and perhaps destroy life as well [as] influence : 
but I shrink from participating in what I now see to be 
so full of danger, the giving, not to you, but to * Essays 
and Reviews,' additional weight and authority. Can you 


not give me privately some assurance that the fearful 
destruction which that book has wrought shall not be 
aided in future by your name? 

" Believe me ever, 

" Yours most truly, 

" E. H. Ely." 

Dr. Temple certainly regretted that one whom he so 
much respected should be buffeted about by the excited 
partisans of frightened orthodoxy : still, he preferred to 
let the matter take its course. And time shewed that he 
was right : the career of the characteristic Bishop of 
Exeter and London is the best reply to those who may 
have been impressed by the shrill loudness of the outcry. 

On the same day on which Bishop Harold Browne 
wrote this letter to his friend, one of his Archdeacons, 
H. J. Rose, addressed him an anxious remonstrance, hoping 
to get from him an assurance that he was going to be one 
of the consecrators only because of his friendship for Lord 
Arthur Hervey. He writes with the old note about the 
"pain" which High Church people say anything they 
dislike causes them. Pain is a wholesome discipline ; and 
the party has grown and flourished none the less for being 
sometimes subjected to it. 

"Houghton Conquest, Ampthill, 

*' December iStA 1869. 

" My dear Lord, — I am sure your Lordship will pardon 
the freedom with which I write on a subject which now 
gives great pain to Churchmen — I mean the consecration 
of Dr. Temple. 

" It was only last night that I learned from the news- 
papers that the Bishop of Ely was named on the Com- 
mission. I had been assured, on what 1 believed to be 
good authority, that his honoured name was not in the 
Commission. It is, of course, a matter of individual 
conscience, with which no one can presume to interfere, to 
decide on the propriety of taking part in the service. But 
1 regret to think of the pain which our best Churchmen 


in this archdeaconry will feel on learning that their loved 
Diocesan is to be one of the consecrating prelates. They 
would be thankful to know that it is as the friend of Lord 
Arthur Hervey that your Lordship attends at the Con- 
secration, if, as some suppose, such is the case. 
" Believe me, my dear Lord, 

" Your faithful, affectionate friend, 

"H. J. Rose." 

The Bishop has happily preserved the draft of his 
reply, so that we obtain a full view of the way in which 
he regarded the matter. It is wonderful to see with what 
gentleness he treats the excited and unreasonable crowd 
of objectors, and with what firmness, having made up hi.s 
mind as to his right course, he holds to it through good 
report and evil report. His reply was dated the day 
before the Consecration. 

" Ely, December Toth 1869. 

"My dear Archdeacon,— I could not answer your 
very kind letter yesterday in the midst of a large Ordi- 
nation. Be assured I am only too thankful for plain 
outspoken Christian remonstrance. I will tell you all I 
have to tell. First, let me say that the placing of my 
name among the Bishops to consecrate Lord Arthur Hervey 
and Dr. Temple was simply the act of the Primate without 
my knowledge. 1 supposed at the time that I was named 
because Lord Arthur had been my Archdeacon as well as 
my very valued friend. However that may have been, the 
first that I heard of it was a letter from the Archbishop's 
Secretary at one of the earliest stages of the Archbishop's 
most alarming illness, in which I was told that a com- 
mission had been signed by his Grace to me and to three 
other bishops, and that he earnestly hoped that I should 
be willing to act under it 

" Now for my own part. 

"When first I heard of Dr. Temple's nomination by 
the Prime Minister and acceptance by the Crown, my 
thoughts were of this kind : — There has long been an 
acknowledged place in the English Church for what we 
now call a Broad School. The * latitude divines,' Witchcote, 


Henry More, etc., were its antetypes, and you know better 
than I can tell you that some of them did good service. 
In our own times we have had men like Dr. Arnold, 
Archbishop Whately, Bishop Hinds, and others whom I 
need not recount I remember, when Dr. Hinds was made 
Bishop of Norwich, a very orthodox friend of mine saying 
that we probably need not be dissatisfied, as he was the 
best of a bad school. I do not think the Church Catholic 
(nor the English Church as being a sound portion of that 
Church) could eject such men, and I should be sorry to 
see her eject an Edward Irving or a Macleod Campbell, 
as the Scotch Kirk has done. 

"This being so, it is pretty certain that men of that 
School will not be wholly overlooked in preferment to high 
places in the Church. Indeed, if they were by belonging 
to that School excluded from any one office in the ministry, 
I see not how they should not be excluded from any one, 
even the lowest. When therefore I heard it said that Mr. 
Gladstone was determined to recommend for bishoprics 
members of all the different Church parties, it certainly 
seemed to me a very happy thing that he should have chosen 
one of such high character, real piety, and great energy as 
Dr. Temple. I could not help welcoming the appointment 
as the best that could be made from the School in question. 
I had a very high esteem for Dr. Temple personally, and 
I never believed that any of his writings were heretical. 
I have always maintained that if his Essay had stood 
alone, no one would have called its writer a heretic. I 
said so repeatedly in Committee of Convocation, and 
Convocation made it clear that that which is condemned 
was not any particular writer or any body of writers, but 
a book which was, taken as a whole, mischievous and 

"When I found myself placed in the Commission to 
consecrate, I certainly felt a fresh responsibility and new 
anxieties. The frantic protests of some persons affected 
me very little. Their tendency is always to prejudice me 
against them, because I see that passion rules and not 
wisdom. But I had to ask myself seriously : After 
Election and Confirmation, ought the Bishops of the 
Province of Canterbury to consecrate Dr. Temple or ought 
they not ? This seems to me the true measure of my own 
responsibility. If Dr. Temple ought, under the circum- 
stances of the case, to be consecrated, then I, having 


received the Archbishop's Commission, have no right to 
shrink from consecrating him through any regard to my 
own ease or comfort or good fame. I have no right to 
cast on others the responsibility which providentially has 
fallen on me, how much soever I may shrink from the 
obloquy and misrepresentation which I know must be 
my lot. 

" If I in my conscience believe that, at the present stage 
of the proceedings, the next step ought to be the consecra- 
tion, then I am a coward if I allow others to consecrate 
him when I have been called on to do so. Of course, I 
may add the less weighty consideration that, if I absent 
myself from Westminster Abbey to-morrow, I shall be 
unable to present and consecrate my own friend and 
Archdeacon, Lord Arthur Hervey. 

" Looking then at Dr. Temple only by himself, I should 
say at once, under all the circumstances he ought to be 
consecrated. He, and those who think with him, have a 
recognised standing-ground in the Church. It is hardly 
possible that no one of his School should rise to the 
Episcopate. It would be hard to find any better repre- 
sentative of his School. He will probably be an active, 
efficient, impartial Bishop, as he has been one of the best 
Headmasters of a public school that ever lived. 

" But on the other hand there is what seems to me the 
terrible fact that his Essay, standing at the head of * Essays 
and Reviews,' being far more innocuous in itself than any 
of the others, and bearing his honoured name upon it, has 
shed a lustre on the whole book, has induced many to 
read the book and to trust it, who would otherwise either 
not have read it at all, or would have read it with caution 
and suspicion, and so have been safer from its poison. 
That he should have suffered the Essay to stand where it 
does through successive editions is, I confess, a difficulty 
which I am unable to solve. To my own mind this is the 
one difficulty, and it has puzzled my will. 

" I am not at liberty to say anything that has passed in 
private correspondence between Dr. Temple and myself. 
I will only say for myself, that I have tried long and 
anxiously, and almost at times despairingly, to see my 
way out of the maze of doubt. I need not tell you that 
it has been the subject of hourly prayer. Consequences 
seem likely to be serious in any case. If the Bishops were 
to refuse to consecrate there would be instant collision 


between the temporality and the spirituality, and that 
disestablishment which you fear would come in the worst 
possible form, viz., not as a disunion of Church and State, 
but as a separation of the great bulk of the clergy from 
the great bulk of the laity. The laity are at least nineteen 
to one in favour of Dr. Temple. And what a loss of 
blessing would that be, if the Church was found to be a 
body of shepherds with no sheep to feed ! On the other 
side I see all the dangers of tender consciences wounded, 
zealous Churchmen alienated, distrust as to the soundness 
of a body where there is thought to be no resistance to 
error, and an agitation by some unchastened spirits for 
change of a destructive character. The balance of con- 
sequences is like the balance of duties ; but I am quite 
sure you will feel with me, that consequences may safely 
be disregarded if duties can be clearly ascertained. 

" On the whole, I have come to the conclusion that I am 
convinced in my own mind that Dr. Temple is not a 
heretic nor an immoral liver; that there is no canonical 
impediment to his consecration ; that all legal steps have 
been gone through ; that, if a formal trial had at any point 
of the proceedings been obtained, it would in any actual 
or conceivable court, civil or ecclesiastical, have issued 
in his acquittal on every charge of heresy, without the 
smallest doubt or shadow of a doubt ; that, therefore, there 
is really no ground which can be legitimately taken for 
the Bishops of the province of Canterbury, in the present 
state of the proceedings, to refuse consecration ; and, if 
there be not, then I, whatever it may cost me, am bound 
to consecrate. That is to say, holding that consecration 
ought not to be withheld, I am bound not to shrink from 
my own responsibility, and to throw it upon others. I 
will only add that, though I know well how I shall be 
judged here, I appeal to a higher judgment, and as in the 
presence of that, I can say that I know no motive in my 
own heart but the desire in this to do as I would do if 
to-morrow were to be my last day in this world. 
" Ever, my dear Archdeacon, 
" Your affectionate friend, 

«E. H.Ely." 

One letter of remonstrance more, in the shrill oriental 
fashion of the remarkable man who wrote it, shall find a 


place here. The Bishop knew Dean Burgon well, and 
fully appreciated — who did not? — his quaintness bordering 
on originality, his kindness of heart, his love for children, 
and childlike way of looking at the problems of life. Mr. 
Burgon does not date his letter ; it must have been 
written not long before the day of Temple's consecration 
(December 21st, 1869). 

" Orieu 

" My dear Lord, — It would be unbecoming in me to 
say more. Your transparent sincerity I never for an 
instant, of course, doubted. 

" I am persuaded, however, that you still do not see the 
danger of the thing I deprecate, because you raise a 
mistaken issue. I have explained this at length in the 
enclosed paper. 

"At least I have the comfort of knowing that I gave 
you all the warning I could. And still if the perusal of 
this protest makes you alter your mind, I am as sure as 
I am of my life that you will not hesitate a moment to 
draw back — even at this late hour. 

" I do not measure myself with you, nor dare to think 
how we shall compare at the last day, in God's sight, 
without being overwhelmed with confusion. 

" Respectfully and affectionately yours, 

"J. W. B. 

" May the good Lord guide you ! 

" P.S. — Of course Dr. T. was not condemned by 
the House of Bishops. No one was. They have no 
power to condemn anybody. Books — not men — are con- 

" But you cannot consecrate a book. And if you 
condemn a book, you mean that you will not consecrate 
the man, 

" Had you wished to excuse Temple, you (of the Upper 
House) should have said so. But not a word was 
dropped ! 

" Excuse this P.S. It is the result of re-perusing your 
letter before I burn it." 


The Bishop's reply to his eager friend is so full of 
sweetness and goodness that it cannot be omitted : — 

"Ely, December ird, 1869. 

" My dear Mr. Burgon, — I must answer your letter, 
if it were only to thank you for its affectionate kindness. 
I need hardly tell you that the subject of it has long 
occupied my thoughts and prayers. 

" As it happens, the Archbishop of Canterbury has, I 
am told, placed my name in the Commission for con- 
secrating the Bishops of Exeter, Bath and Wells, and the 
Falkland Islands. Moreover, the Bishop-elect of Bath and 
Wells, being my own highly valued Archdeacon, has asked 
me to present him at the consecration, and it would be 
hard for me to stay away. Then comes the question^ 
Having to be present can I refuse to join in the con- 
secration of the Bishop of Exeter ? 

" I joined in condemning the book in which his Essay 
appears, and I still think it is one of the most destructive 
books which the present century has produced ; but I have 
read again the Preface and Dr. Temple's Essay. The 
Preface claims entire independence for each author and 
irresponsibility for what others have written. Dr. Temple's 
Essay has many things with which I do not agree, but I 
find in it distinctly the creation of the world by God, its 
government, natural and spiritual, by His providence, the 
spiritual nature and accountability of man, the final 
judgment, the Divinity of Christ, the Divine revelation of 
religious truth to the Jews and Christians in contradis- 
tinction to the light of nature among the heathens, the 
infallible inspiration of Scripture in matters of faith, and 
other religious truths. These things come out incidentally, 
but there they are. There are, no doubt, other truths 
which I do not find there ; but I cannot expect every 
Christian truth to come out in every essay on a religious 
question. There is certainly the supposition that the 
writers of Holy Scripture may not have been infallible 
in matters of science or of history. This even is not 
asserted, but only supposed possible ; and whatever 1 
myself may hold on this point, I can find no Creed or 
Article or decree of Council which defines the exact nature 
and extent of inspired infallibility. 

" I entirely agree with the Archbishop of Canterbury in 


regretting that Dr. Temple has not disclaimed all sympathy 
with some of the sayings in the other Essays. I under- 
stand the feelings of honour which have weighed with 
him ; but I think the Church and the interest of souls 
have as much hold on us as feelings of delicacy tow^ard 
friends and colleagues. Still, as he falls back on re- 
sponsibility for his own Essay alone, as I have never heard 
that he has given utterance to heresy in any other way, 
as he professes himself ready to make all required 
declarations and subscriptions, as I believe him to be a 
man of singularly high moral tone and incapable of signing 
in a non-natural sense, as the Archbishop of Canterbury, 
my own Metropolitan, vouches for his orthodoxy, the 
following seems plain to me. Dr. Temple has been chosen 
by the Crown, elected by the Chapter (according to the 
present form of the Concordia sacerdotii et imperii) ; if he 
is further confirmed by the Metropolitan (according to 
Canon IV. and VI. of the Council of Nice), and if he is 
presented by two Bishops as a godly and well-learned man, 
there is no reason for me to withhold my hand when 
others are laid on him. 

** I am fully prepared for a storm of indignation, 
' sacerdotuni ardor prava jubentium ' ! I fear incomparably 
more the giving pain to many dear friends, with whom I 
have almost every feeling in common, but who see this 
question in a different light from myself. Nay! I fear 
that I shall entirely lose the friendship and confidence of 
some. But, if I allowed these motives to weigh with me, 
I should feel that I was not acting a manly and Christian 
part, and so I should fear to lose the favour of God ; and 
I look forward to a time when the misunderstandings of 
the disciples of Jesus Christ will be cleared up in the light 
of His eternal presence. 

" Believe me, my dear Mr. Burgon, 
" Yours affectionately and gratefully, 

"E. H. Ely." 

Mr. Burgon returned to the attack with one of those 
"frenzied" efforts of which the Bishop makes mention. 
One would have thought that the end of the Christian 
faith was come, so violent and despairing was the tone 
of it, so hopeless the figure of the kind good Fellow of 


Oriel, as he looked out of that window near the College 
gate from which he was wont to observe the doings of a 
degenerate world. 

Some of the Bishop's correspondents wrote in a very 
different strain. Thus, the Bishop of Carlisle recognised 
the difficulty of his position, and the manly way in which 
he had faced it ; the laity generally were favourable to 
the course he had followed. The clergyman, Mr. Morton 
Shaw, to whom he offered the office of Rural Dean, thrown 
back to him by one outraged Rector, spoke out vigorously 
in his letter accepting the post : — 

"RouGHAM Rectory, Bury St. Edmunds. 
" February 2ist, 1^70, 

"My dear Lord Bishop, — Since I wrote last night 

I have learnt the reason of Mr. 's resignation, which 

I presume he stated to your Lordship at the time ; so 
that I hope I am not trespassing upon improper ground 
in alluding to it. But it has decided me at once to accept 
the appointment. I do so, indeed, for the very reaspn 
that led him to resign it. I should have asked permission 
to wait until I see how I come out of my illness before 
deciding, under other circumstances. But I wish every 
one of my neighbours to know what I feel on that subject ; 
and if I should come very badly out of my illness and 
find myself unequal to the duties of the office, I must ask 
you kindly to relieve me of it. 

" From the very first I have expressed the opinion that 
if I had been in your Lordship's place I should have done 
as you did ; for that you had clearly two responsibilities 
placed before you, — one that of consecrating, and the 
other that of refusing to do so; and that I didn't see 
how, having both clearly before your conscience, you could 
do otherwise than accept what, after all, painful as it 
might be, seemed to me the less serious responsibility — 
that of consecrating. 

** I have often longed to write and tell you how much 
I sympathised with you in all that I knew you must be 
suffering in regard to this matter. But I felt that it would 
be a liberty to go out of the way to do so, and also that 


there was almost a kind of indignity in seeming to imply 
that you needed any vindication from any of your clergy 
for doing what you conscientiously, and as I think truly, 
felt it your duty to do. 

" Believe me, my dear Lord Bishop, 
" Your Lordship's most obliged and obedient servant, 

"Morton Shaw. 

"The Lord Bishop of Ely." 

The violence and excitement soon wore themselves out, 
and calmer judgments prevailed. People found out that the 
formidable schoolmaster became a Bishop who could not 
be played with safely ; his earnestness and real piety, his 
vigorous utterances and plain common sense, his freedom 
from extravagances, his championship of religious educa- 
tion, soon allayed alarm. " Essays and Reviews " were put 
on the shelf and forgotten ; and the Bishop of Ely found 
that, after all, his work went on much as before, and that 
he had by no means forfeited the esteem and affection 
of his diocese. 



A MAN who was bold enough to say, as Bishop Harold 
Browne did in 1871, that " the best method of Church 
defence is Church work," would certainly take care that in 
his own sphere " Church work " should be a reality. The 
thirty years that have passed since he was first called to 
the Episcopate have seen a vast change, of which the 
Bishop was one of the pioneers. The road is now, thanks 
largely to his energy and practical gifts, open in the 
direction of still farther advances. 

All the Bishop's innovations were in one direction. 
They aimed at more organisation, which should employ 
and interest Churchmen in Church matters ; they tried to 
teach men to differ charitably or to agree heartily. Apart 
from the spiritual aspect of the question, there can be no 
doubt that the shifting of the political balance, and the 
uprising of new social powers, have given a fresh insistence 
to the vital question, Is the Church of England the Church 
of the people? So long ago as his Ely days. Bishop 
Harold Browne saw that this question could not be set 
aside, and longed to quicken the zeal of his clergy in 
dealing with the people. If the Church is to retain her 
position in the future, it can only be by realising this 
necessity, as many single-hearted men who work in our 
large towns are aware. The stability of "Church and 

337 22 


State " may be as much strengthened by this new reading 
of the Church's duty in the towns as it is weakened by 
the continuance of the older system in country villages. 
There the Church strives to perpetuate or restore the old 
idyllic life, at the moment when the villagers are attaining 
to a sense of new rights and privileges, and a wholesome, 
if as yet uneasy, independence ; in the more complex life 
of towns she is learning, thanks chiefly to the more modem 
school of High Churchmanship, to adapt herself to the 
conditions of life around her and to prove herself the guide 
and friend of the wage-earner. 

The Bishop's handling of this vital subject was rather 
in the older spirit: — 

"A Church," he says in the Charge of 1869, "which has 
lost its poor, and lost them to indifference and sin, has 
indeed lost its truest riches. . . . The evil grows, and all 
the Church must work against it. . . . The Church is 
called on to throw itself with all its soul into the con- 
flict ... No lazy perfunctory work will reach them. 
There is need of throwing ourselves into their wants and 
homes, living familiarly among them, giving ourselves 
wholly to them. . , . We all of us want, but the poor want 
most especially, strong, earnest, fervent heart-utterances 
in their prayers." 

We must be grateful for such wise words, yet we feel 
that there is always a certain condescension; the Bishop 
will treat them with the warmest sympathy and win them 
by kindness, yet they are in a diff'erent sphere ; the notion 
of the brotherhood and ultimate equality of all in Christ is 
hardly realised. The subject came up not infrequently in 
the Diocesan Conferences ; and the Bishop always treated 
it so as to shew that he saw the importance of the problem. 
In one address he admits that the clergyman is usually a 
member of the employer class, yet he is "the natural 
defender of the poor," a noble office which he must try 


to fulfil with ever-growing zeal and power. In another 
address he points out the terrible fact that — 

" Only two per cent, of the working-classes in large towns 
attend public worship ; infidelity is making way among the 
masses ; five millions are living in neglect of all means of 
grace; there is, I fear, but little active preaching of the 
gospel, of the simple proclaiming of the glad tidings of 

The Bishop tells them that he yearns to lead a crusade, 
a true crusade, against the modern spirit of indifference. 
He takes heart in thinking that '' one great sign of hope 
to the Church at present is that amidst the crowd of 
operatives in our great manufacturing towns the religion 
of the Church is the most popular ; the Church has gained 
most ground in populous centres." 

In another Conference address (1871), he calls attention 
to the evils of intemperance ; and his words may carry the 
more weight with some from the fact that the Bishop, 
though most temperate and even abstemious, was not a 
total abstainer. He speaks of drunkenness as " a vice of 
civilisation, not of barbarism. One in every thirty-four 
houses in England is a licensed house. ... In some 
villages one in twenty, even one in ten ! . . . A por- 
tentous thing." 

In this same address, in the just indignation of his heart 
he went on to enlarge on the bad surroundings of the 
working-man's life, speaking of his wretched and crowded 
dwellings, his unwholesome sanitary state and general 
discomfort, and he added that we must endeavour to 
improve the dwellings of the poor. Presently, however, 
he became aware that some magnate on the platform was 
pulling a long face ; and he weakened the effect of his 
weighty words by explaining that " this is in towns, not in 
* sweet country villages.* " But people with opened eyes — 


most of us are as blind as puppies — know well enough that 
neither vice nor misery can be said to belong to either 
town or country to the exclusion of the other ; and though 
the model village may smile outside the park gates, there 
is many a wretched hovel within reach which deserves to 
the full the Bishop's vigorous words of condemnation. 

Nor does his practical mind forget to suggest some sen- 
sible ways of lessening the evil. He discusses in one of his 
Visitation Charges the best way of alluring the working- 
men to church. He recommends a most admirable code of 
village church usage. Let us have, he says, churches open 
on a week day, and on every week day evening a short 
service, as a kind of Family Prayers : " the prayers taking 
fifteen minutes ; then a hymn, then a short practical 
address for ten minutes more.** " Let us have brighter 
singing in service : choral service where it can be managed." 
He also advises a Litany on Sunday afternoons, with 
homely and interesting catechising on the life of our 
Lord, or short colloquial sermons addressed specially ' ad 
populum.* That catechising in church should have so 
much dropped out of use in country places is a most 
astonishing and lamentable fact Then he suggests that 
all class distinctions should disappear within the walls of 
God's house ; and lastly — and here is the key of the whole 
position — he cries aloud for a zealous and faithful clergy 
capable of rightly dividing the word of truth. There is 
a pretty touch, in the same visitation, which gives us a 
glimpse of the Bishop's own parochial life. Archdeacon 
Emery, his trusted friend and colleague, in enforcing his 
chiefs advice about the best way of gaining admittance 
to the hearts of the people, said that — 

" The clergyman, however much ' the gentleman,' would 
be heartily received by the poor, if like their Bishop in 
his former parishes he visited his poor folk, and did not 


disdain to sit down with them and take a meal or a cup 
of tea ; or even to help them to boil the kettle." 

Just before the close of his Ely episcopate the Bishop 
had approved of a very practical discussion in the Diocesan 
Conference on " The duty of the Church, clergy and laity, 
in relation to the disputes between Labour and Capital, 
with special reference to the danger of alienating the 
working classes from religion and religious ordinances." 
And on this large and most vital topic he spoke with 
much gravity and a real insight into many of the difficulties 
of the problem. He treated the subject from a somewhat 
wide point of view, calling his address a discourse on 
** Vital Christianity and Modern Civilisation," and dealing 
with the relations of the Church to the world in general 
rather than to the working folk specially. Still, all he 
said bears directly on the essential question — Why it is 
that the religion of Jesus Christ has been so far from 
realising the most important of all its duties : " To the 
poor the gospel is preached." 

" I believe," he says, and so saying strikes the note of 
a liberal policy for the Church, "that Communism and 
Socialism are really the earnest strugglings of the human 
heart for a state of society which Ae Christian Church 
ought to supply. They are a kind of travesty on the 
condition of the Church as her Founder intended it to be. 
It was intended to be one great society, one great body, 
knit together in unity of heart and soul, in which if one 
member suffer all the members suff'er with it, and one 
member rejoice, all the members rejoice with it ; in which 
every effort is made to raise the poor ; to keep the rich 
from being proud and overbearing ; to promote perfect 
sympathy between all classes ; to make every one feel 
that whether a man is higher than himself or lower he 
is his brother in Christ, with the same hopes and ends 
and aims. Therefore Communism and Socialism are the 
uneasy throes of the human mind, and if the Church knew 
how to deal with them, all these desires would be satisfied." 


A little later, he addresses himself again to the problem 
of the poor. 

"In former times," he says, " it was a glory of the 
Church that it could be called emphatically the Church 
of the poor . . . but it may be feared that religion of all 
kinds is losing its hold on the labouring man. There are 
many causes for this. The rapid growth of population, 
far outstripping the growth of the means of grace, is one 
chief cause. But we must look farther and deeper still. 
It may be said without fear of contradiction that the 
only Church in Christendom, at all events in Western 
Christendom, which commands the confidence of the 
wealthy and the well-educated is the English Church. 
This is true, not only where establishment is supposed to 
give a high social position to its clergy, but in the colonics, 
in some of which it is at singular disadvantage. On the 
Continent the Roman Church revolts the intelligence, 
while the Reformed Churches do not satisfy the wants, of 
the educated classes. We have then great privileges. It 
is a great point gained when faith is conciliated, yet reason 
not offended. But the gain of the rich is ill purchased if 
it be by the loss of the poor ; and I am afraid it must be 
said that in all Protestant countries not the Church only 
but religion altogether is losing its hold upon the poor. 
But it ought not so to be. Th^re is no sufficient reason 
why the English Church at all events should lose the poor. 
Of the two it had far better lose the rich. ' Hath not God 
chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith and heirs of 
the promises?' and evil will betide the Church which 
disregards those whom God has chosen. 

"In the present struggle it is not altogether unnatural 
that the labouring man should look on the clergyman 
as likely to be his enemy. The clei^yman belongs to the 
employer — not to the labourer — class. He is often himself 
possessed of land, and so likely to sympathise with owners 
and holders of land or property. Besides, he is by duty 
as well as by interest a defender of the law. On these 
accounts the labourer or operative is likely to esteem him 
a prejudiced person, prejudiced against his cause and his 
rights. The greatest discretion is therefore needed by the 
clergy, on the one hand not to encourage the labouring 
man in any undue assertion of his rights, but on the other 


hand not to be led away by any personal or class interest 
to take a part or to say an unwise word against him. The 
minister of God is the natural defender of the poor, and 
he had better err by defending him too much than by 
deserting him when he needs defence. 

" It is pretty generally admitted that the agricultural 
labourer in many parts of England has had wrongs ; and 
I think it will not be denied that no one has so tried to 
do him right as the parochial clergy. They have tried 
to raise his social condition, have defended him against 
oppression, have ministered to him in poverty, sickness^ 
and sorrow, have provided almost the only education 
hitherto provided for him at all. They have especially 
defended him against himself In all these ways we are 
called on to defend him still. I am sure that the best 
friend of the working man is he who educates him best^ 
not as an animal, but as a being who is heir oif both 
worlds, and who has wants for both." 

Nor did the Bishop fail, when occasion offered, to talk 
in a very friendly and sympathetic strain to labouring 
people. His advice was wholesome and sensible, and 
answered fairly enough to the conditions of the labour 
problem as it then presented itself 

"I wish you," he said, "to plead for your own rights; 
I wish you to have your rights. I earnestly wish that 
every poor man and woman may have his or her rights 
as regards labour, wages, everything else ; but I want 
you to try and obtain them in a reasonable spirit, in such 
a spirit as is likely to be prospered by God and accepted 
by man. One thing I certainly wish — I wish you all could 
have better houses : it would be a great blessing ; and I 
wish you could all have a little portion of land. But there 
is one thing I specially wish you to do, and that is, when 
you prosper, when wages rise, and your houses are more 
comfortable, and homes more comfortable, that you should 
know how to take care of your houses, your homes, your 
property, and, most of all, of yourselves. What does most 
harm to the working man in this country is what he does 
of himself If he gets good wages, he often does not bring 
them home to wife and children, but takes the money 
elsewhere. In some manufacturing districts many men 


spend three days of the week working and four drinking ; 
and then are poorer than they were when wages were less^ 
and are less comfortable, and their wives and children 
worse off. Nothing will give you such command of the 
market view of life as command of yourselves. I would 
say to both parties, masters and men, that the best way to 
get grievances righted is to do no wrong ; to do what you 
Slink well to do, kindly, as firmly as you like, still kindly, 
gently, sensibly. Argue fairly, act properly, in a straight- 
forward way, not by way of agitation. I do not wonder at 
agitations sometimes, for working men have had causes 
for complaint ; there are reasons why working men should 
combine to save their rights. Do all you do prudently ; 
you have sympathy on your side. But if it comes to a 
conflict, take care : there is such power in wealth that the 
labourer is likely to be worsted. So be prudent in calling 
for a rise of wages, and careful not to defeat yourselves." 

It would be easy to criticise some of these utterances ; 
still the fact remains that he was aware of the growing 
labour-problem ; that he faced it sympathetically and in 
a good spirit, and sincerely desired to stand, as friend to 
both sides, between the two; and w^ished his clergy to 
occupy the same position. That greatest question of the 
future, the destiny of the worker, and the use he will 
make of his power when he comes to understand it, rose 
into the Bishop's sight in days in which it was entirely 
below the horizon for the most of us. He hoped that the 
Church would have wisdom and grace to help towards 
the wholesome solution of this grave question. It is 
worthy of notice that one of those who were brought up 
at our Bishop's feet in the old Cambridge days, the present 
Bishop of Durham, has been called on to face the problem 
in all its difficulty, and did excellent work in the great 
Durham strike in 1892. 

The ten years of the Bishop's work at Ely were full of 
well-aimed endeavours to secure the harmonious activity 
of the Church. No man had ever before him a higher 


ideal of the episcopal calling. His aim was to be guide 
and father to his diocese ; and in this he never spared 
himself. It was the moment at which Bishops, finding that 
their work multiplied till they were unable to keep pace 
with it, looked out for help. Those who could obtain 
Suffragan Bishops began to make arrangements for this 
relief. It was obvious that a Bishop and a helping Bishop, 
working heartily together, would catch up arrears of organi- 
sation, and infinitely enlarge the usefulness of episcopal 
supervision. And our Bishop, having within his reach one 
of the most characteristic and vigorous of men, made haste 
to catch and secure him. 

Francis McDougall, who had resigned the bishopric of 
Labuan in consequence of the failure of his strength, the 
ill-health of his wife, and the death of more than one of his 
children, had returned to England, and having taken the 
living of Godmanchester, in the suburbs of Huntingdon, 
was already in the diocese. From the very first a warm 
friendship sprang up between the two Bishops. The 
originality of Bishop McDougall's character, appearance, 
and mind, the story of his heroic and venturesome life, 
the society of his refined and delightful wife, his charming 
and fascinating children, attracted our Bishop powerfully. 
No two men could have been more unlike, whether in 
appearance or in qualities ; yet they were quite devoted to 
each other, and the letters which passed between them 
during the long period — over twenty years — in which they 
worked together, would fill many volumes. Their points 
in common were first a deep sense of religion and a true 
loyalty to the Church of England ; then, a wholesome and 
refreshing sense of humour and appreciation of character ; 
then, an almost passionate love of animals, and interest in 
the world around us. Each of them recognised in the 
other a perfectly honest man. 



" The extreme intimacy and brotherly affection between 
the Bishop and McDougall," says an old friend, "was 
very remarkable, as well as very creditable to both. Of 
course the two Bishops had some things in common. Both 
were full of geniality, and both had a keen sense of 
humour. But in many aspects what very different men 
they were. One was the very perfection of refinement, 
the other had an almost Falstaffian jollity in manner as in 

They both had an equal dislike of extravagances : Bishop 
McDougall by reason of his knowledge of the world, his 
early training, and his honest temper of mind, which 
shrank from anything which might savour of mere appear- 
ance and hypocrisy ; and the Bishop of Ely, because his 
sensitive, well-trained nature instinctively fought against 
what was theatrical in religion. They were both High 
Churchmen of the older type, of the earlier Anglican 
school; both suspicious of a tendency towards Rome 
visible in the manners and acts of some of the clergy. 
Nothing ever distressed Bishop Harold Browne or him so 
much as to see young men, in their youthful enthusiasm, 
attracted by and endeavouring to copy the ways of Rome. 
The one, thanks to his great learning, the other through 
his practical knowledge of the working of the system, were 
far more fully aware of the real character of the Roman 
advance than were those who, in the enthusiasm of a 
generous youth, fell under the fascinations of a magnificent 
system and a splendid symbolic ritual. 

And so it came about that these two men, so very 
different in look, ways, habits, education, yet so closely 
agreed in the weightier matters of the gospel of salva- 
tion, were affectionate friends and colleagues both at Ely 
and at Winchester. In 1870 the Bishop made Bishop 
McDougall Archdeacon of Huntingdon ; throughout he 
employed his help, consulted him on every occasion, and 


helped him with his purse with a never-failing liberality 
and affectionate eagerness. And there are many letters 
which show that the two prelates gladly offered and took 
this practical help. It was always done in so beautiful 
a spirit as to leave the impression that the favour was 
being conferred not on the recipient but on the giver. 

It was in connexion with .this helping hand that the 
Bishop of Ely next year, 1871, communicated with 
Mr. Gladstone, then Prime Minister, on the subject 
of Suffragan Bishops. It is curious to notice how 
the parts seem to have been exchanged. The Bishop 
was at the time much occupied with the Revision of the 
Authorised Version of the Old Testament, which often 
took hiqi away to London, and this, as he naturally 
felt, left the diocese too much to itself. He was the 
chairman of the Old Testament company, and by his 
erudition, his mastery of the Hebrew tongue, his fair- 
ness and courtesy, had rendered himself essential to the 
work, and could never, save for absolute necessity, absent 
himself from the meetings of the body. He therefore 
desired, if possible, to give to Bishop McDougall the 
more definite and recognised position of Suffragan Bishop, 
Huntingdon being one of the places named in the Act 
of Henry VIII. (26 Henry VIII., c. 14). Mr. Gladstone's 
reply was caution itself — as became one of the most 
conservative of statesmen. He is not prepared to 
recommend the Crown to appoint Suffragans whenever 
asked to do so; he thinks there is an intermediate 
course ; the Bishop of the diocese might appoint an 
Assistant-Bishop. He adds that the Lord Chancellor, 
whom he had consulted, also thought it undesirable to 
create Suffragans. The Bishop had mentioned the names 
of two of his Archdeacons, Bishop McDougall and Lord 
Arthur Hervey, as those whom he would wish to submit to 


the Crown. The Prime Minister replies that the appoint- 
ment of either of them " would strain the working and credit 
of the Act." And so the proposal fell to the ground. When 
the Bishop was translated to Winchester, and (in January 
1874) applied to the Prime Minister for a Suffragan, he 
found Mr. Gladstone perfectly willing to carry out his wishes, 
and to allow the appointment of a Bishop of Guildford. 

Another little matter, bearing on the dignity of his 
episcopal office, came before the Bishop of Ely at this 
time. In July 1870 many of his friends in the diocese 
were anxious to present their Bishop with a handsome 
Pastoral Staff, as an emblem of his authority. It will be 
seen that the Bishop was pleased at the kindness which 
had suggested the presentation, while he was most anxious 
not to hurt the feelings of any of his people, or to lend 
himself to what might be regarded as a party demonstra- 
tion. He thus writes from Ely, on July 27th, 1870, to 
Bishop McDougall : — 

"My dear Brother,— With reference to what you 
kindly said to me yesterday, I would just say this. 

" I have thought a good deal of what you told me about 
Archdeacons Emery and Chapman, thinking that the last 
might be offended by the presentation of a Pastoral Staff 
to me. Personally, I like the emblem or symbolism 
involved in the said Staff, and of course cannot but be 
deeply gratified at the kind thoughts which have dictated 
the proposal to give me one. As, however, the thoughts 
seem to have arisen in connection with our Conferences, 
it certainly would be very sad if a torch of discord were 
thrown into these Conferences, or if distrust were excited 
by the said Staff. 

"Does it not seem that it would be well if my kind 
friends among the clergy were to sound the leading law 
members of the Conference before quite deciding ? 

" I throw this out as you so kindly spoke to me about it 
" Ever yours affectionately, 

"E. H.Ely." 


Bishop McDougairs reply is lost ; it was followed soon 
after by a second letter, which is given here : — 

"Rose Castle, Carlisle. 

'' August 6ih, 1870. 

"My dear Bishop, — I am much obliged to you for 
your kind letter. I enclose part of one on the same 
subject from my chaplain, G. Phear, Tutor of Emmanuel 
College, who was the other person that told me of the 
design of the * Staff.' I have also talked privately to 
the Bishop of Carlisle. He is fearful that the use of a 
Pastoral Staff just now would be thought a badge of 
party. The Bishops to whom staves have been given are 
Winchester, Rochester, and the late Bishops of Salisbury 
and Chichester, who would probably be thought the four 
most decidedly High Churchmen Bishops. You mentioned 
Peterborough : I did not know he was one. 

" It very little matters whether people abuse one as a 
Ritualist or anything else ; but if any section of the clergy 
of the diocese, or still more if the laity in general, become 
thereby suspicious, there might be a breach of that harmony 
which I am so thankful to think exists in the diocese of 
Ely ; and that without compromise of principle. 

" I do not hesitate to say that I think a Pastoral Staff 
a very proper piece of symbolism, and I should much like 
to use one ; but not if thereby a weak brother be offended. 

" This is a lovely place, and the Goodwins seem very 
happy here. 

" Ever yours affectionately, 


In the end the Bishop received the Staff from Mr. C. 
Longuet Higgins, a well-known layman of the diocese, 
and one of his dearest friends ; and made a charming 
reply as to the plain meaning and symbolic quality of the 
Staff. Now that such emblems have lost a party-character, 
if ever they had it, we are inclined to wonder at the 
Bishop's anxiety to avoid the risk of wounding the weak 
brethren. It is clear that this Staff was an evidence of 
much and very widespread affection in the diocese; the 


subscribers to it were of all classes of society, and repre- 
sented many very different shades of opinion. In one 
small village, where the Bishop had lately been visiting, and 
" where he had often spent a day in ministering among the 
people," the schoolchildren asked leave to contribute to 
the fund, and in pence, halfpence, and farthings collected 
together quite a good sum towards it ; it is to be hoped 
that at some later confirmation or other grave occasion 
they had the felicity of again seeing their Bishop with his 
Pastoral Staff, towards which out of their " deep poverty " 
they had so affectionately contributed 

Bishop Harold Browne now advanced a step farther. 
The centre-point of the diocese is the Cathedral : what 
part should the officials of the Mother Church be called 
on to take in the practical work around them ? It seemed 
to him far from enough that there should be a semi- 
independent leisurely body of men, set, with ample means 
at their disposal, to keep up a splendid fabric, to encourage 
good choral services, to dispense elegant hospitalities, 
to form a close College with little or no influence on 
the diocese around. The Cathedral dignitary, in theory 
an elderly man enjoying leisure, was in practice some- 
thing entirely different : he was usually the Rector of a 
living at a distance, sometimes not in the diocese, who 
spent three months a year in the Cathedral city as a kind 
of holiday, and found little or no spiritual work to do. 
The literary records of the English Church do not confirm 
the notion that the Cathedral Close is the home of research 
or the mother of many books. Above all, the position 
of the Dean was a real difficulty. Deans are a puzzling 
race. A Dean ought to be so useful, and is sometimes 
not even ornamental: he represents neither the Bishop 
nor the clergy of the diocese ; is appointed by the Prime 
Minister of the day, without regard for the needs of the 


place to which he is to go ; his authority over the Cathedral 
Church, instead of helping to make him the ready lieutenant 
of the Bishop, gives him an almost independent position 
of rivalry; he comes into the diocese, a stranger with 
no ties to the place of his sojourn. His necessary 
duties are small enough : he must reside his eight 
months, preach his four statutable sermons, be hospitable 
and courteous, and on good terms with the Mayor, 
and, if possible, be a man of business, able to preside 
at Chapter meetings and the like. He has supervision 
over the staff of persons employed in his Cathedral 
Church and precinct ; in theory he is supreme over the 
Services and the music, though he finds in practice that 
these matters are regarded as too high for him. If a 
Cathedral is in some populous place, the Dean may, if 
he has the gifts for it, become as it were the incumbent 
of the chief city Church, and fill a really important position 
as such. Even so, his attitude is not always sympathetic 
towards his Bishop, who has no real control over him, 
and cannot work him into his diocesan system. 

In spite of these unpromising elements. Bishop Harold 
Browne, though he said little about the work to be got 
out of his Deans, was not afraid of attacking the important 
problem of Cathedral usefulness. Here was a reserve of 
power, which might be made valuable in many ways, if 
only the Canons with their Head would become leaders 
in diocesan work. It is obvious that a Dean who has no 
sympathy with what is going on in the diocese around him 
is far from making the most of his position. It is equally 
clear that a body of Canons who hold themselves aloof 
from the parochial clergy, till, instead of unity of aim, 
jealousies and illwill spring up, are very far from doing 
justice to their opportunities. And so the Bishop, in his 
usual conservative spirit, began to consider how he might, 


with the least disturbance of existing arrangements, mould 
his Chapter into the form best suited for his purpose. 
We have, in his letter to Dean Goulburn on "Bishops 
and Cathedrals," published in 1872, an account of the way 
in which the Canonries should be filled up, a plan which 
he always followed in making his own nominations. He 
expresses a decided preference for the system in use in 
certain Cathedrals, as at Exeter, under which he himself 
had become a Canon. 

"In the Old Foundation Cathedrals, according to their 
ancient rights and customs, the Bishop appointed and 
collated to the non-residentiary prebends, the value of 
which was very small, and not such as to tempt to much 
nepotism ; the residentiary Canons were then elected by 
the Dean and Chapter out of the body of the non- 
residentiary Prebendaries. There was thus a double 
election. It was the interest of the Bishop to appoint 
able men to the prebends. It was the interest of the 
Chapter to elect the ablest Prebendaries into the resi- 
dentiary stalls." 

This, however, was not the system which he, as Bishop 
of two Cathedrals of the New Foundation, had to deal 
with. He found himself charged with the duty of selecting 
both the Honorary Canons and the Canons Residentiary, 
a system which, with an able and good Bishop, is perhaps 
superior to that of the Old Foundation Chapters. Both 
at Ely and at Winchester he exercised his patronage with 
the most scrupulous and delicate care. He elicited the 
opinions and wishes of the members of the Cathedral 
body, shewing, the greatest anxiety, lest he should appoint 
any one distasteful to the body politic, or even to single 
members of it ; and he thus describes the process : — 

" I have always exercised my Cathedral patronage on 
the following principle : I have consulted the Archdeacons 
as to the best and ablest men in their respective arch- 


deaconries. When an honorary stall was to be filled up, 
I have set down a number of names commended to me 
by my Archdeacons and by my own knowledge of the 
diocese. I have then laid them before the Dean and 
Chapter, with the request that they would choose one or 
two (according to the number of the vacancies) ; and I 
have always appointed those chosen by them. Two 
residentiary stalls have fallen to my patronage. Every 
interest has been made with me for persons of high birth 
or personal relation to myself. I hope I need not tell you 
that I disregarded this. I gave the first to an Archdeacon 
who had no preferment but his archdeaconry [Archdeacon 
Emery], but who was the most indefatigable of workers 
in all diocesan work. I gave it on the understanding that 
such diocesan work should still be carried on by him ; 
and every one will confess that it is carried on with the 
most untiring energy. The other stall I gave to a man 
[Bishop McDougall] who for twenty years had lived as a 
missionary and a missionary Bishop, sacrificing his health 
and his wife's health, and the health and life of his 
children, to his Master's service." 

Nothing could exceed the kindness and consideration 
with which the Bishop thus exercised his Cathedral 
patronage, seeking only to appoint the best and most 
acceptable men, men who would not disturb the peace 
and brotherliness which ought always to reign within a 
Cathedral's precincts. It may be that he sometimes 
missed by this process the strongest men. They are not 
always easy to drive. 

The aim he had set before him is made quite clear in his 
Address of 1871. In it he says that : — 

" The Bishop with his Chapter around him was especially 
the missionary agency of the Church. I hope the time 
may be coming when from the Cathedral, as from the 
centre of the diocese, may emanate some great spiritual 
machinery for penetrating the darkness around. The desire 
for reform has extended even to our Cathedrals." 

He goes on to say that he thought the Chapters of old 



did this (an opinion which has no very strong historical 
position, it is to be feared). 

"Why should they not now? Cathedrals are very 
valuable in many ways, and the influence one of the learned 
clergy carries with him into the diocese is of the utmost 
value ; still, we want something more aggressive, and, if 
possible, something starting from the Chapter. I should 
like to see connected with the Cathedral two or three 
clergymen as special diocesan missionaries." 

Again, about the same time, he writes : — 

" February 22nd, 1872. 
** I certainly do not desire to see Deans and Chapters 
cut down. What I should like would be to see them 
diocesan and not monastic, working with the Bishop ; not 
interposing the Dean between him and themselves, so that 
the Dean should claim to be an independent and often anta- 
gonistic potentate. I have no doubt that in the palmy days 
of Episcopacy it was very necessary to remind the Bishop 
that he was mortal. Now, there is no curate in the diocese 
that does not consider opposition to his Bishop an import- 
ant part of the whole duty of man, and a continual seton 
in the shape of a Dean is no longer necessary. I do not 
say this with reference to Dean M[erivale], for he is most 
good-natured and pleasant I am sure Chapters will be 
more influential and more happy if they work with the 
Bishop and look on him as their own and not something 
quite strange to them. 

" Ever very affectionately yours, 

"E. H.Ely." 

In the letter on "Bishops and Cathedrals" quoted 
above, he lays down very clearly what was his real desire 
in the matter of Cathedral Reform. Dean Goulbum had 
resented the notion that the Bishops wished "to merge 
the Cathedral clergy in their dioceses " ; and the Bishop 
replies that " much will depend on the sense attached by 
you to the word * merge.* " 

" If it means to sink them into parish priests, and turn 


the Cathedrals into mere parish churches, I do not think 
any Bishop has ever dreamed so wild a dream. Many of 
us do wish, and many who are not Bishops wish most 
earnestly, even more for the sake of the Cathedrals than 
for the sake of the dioceses, that the capitular bodies 
should be restored to their ancient diocesan position and 
their ancient diocesan functions, as the Bishop's Council, 
as the leaders, with the Bishop, of all good works, not only 
in the Cathedral town, but in every portion of the diocese ; 
and that in place of the jealousy, which has hitherto been 
chronic and incurable, between Bishops and Deans on one 
hand, and between Cathedral and parochial clergy on the 
other, there could be established a good understanding and 
a harmonious co-operation between Bishop, Chapter, and 
parochial clergy, everywhere and in every way." 

And at the end of the same letter he adds : — 

" I am sure that the Dean and Chapter may have every 
reasonable independence, with yet all due respect to the 
constitutional position of the Bishop, not as head of the 
Chapter, but as Ordinary and chief pastor of the Cathedral. 
I believe, moreover, that the only hope of saving the 
Cathedral bodies is to make them once more part, and 
the highest and chief part, of the great machinery of 
the Church in each diocese." 

And he sums all up by speaking of the " true diocesan 
system, as a spiritual commonwealth under a paternal 
government"; a phrase which happily expresses the 
anxious care with which, while he aimed at the constitu- 
tional development of all diocesan life, he also jealously 
guarded his own position as the ecclesiastical head. He 
should be the " benevolent despot " and the diocese should 
be guided into the paths of active and harmonious work. 
He was not unaware that such a theory of the episcopal 
power and authority clashed here and there with the legal 
status of those under his rule. It is one of the anomalies 
of the Church as by law established that men were often 
almost independent under him. We have seen it in his 


brushes with the Deans of his Cathedrals ; it appears also 
in the impatience with which he regarded the tendency of 
parochial clergy to retreat behind their freeholds, and to 
turn the ancient parish system of England into a kind of 

In his efforts to carry out this reform and to secure the 
real help of his Chapters he followed two different lines 
in his two dioceses. In 1872 he expressed himself as 
distinctly opposed to that very principle of concentration 
on the Cathedral city which he afterwards carried out at 
Winchester. He then thought it would be best that the 
four Canons should have their own spheres of light and 
influence, one in each of the four divisions of his diocese, 
and only be at Ely for their Residences ; in other words, he 
wished to keep them in direct touch with parish work and 
the practical organisation of the diocese. On the other 
hand, at Winchester he had the appointment of all the 
five canonries in his hands, and (except in the case of the 
Archdeacon of Surrey, whose position is somewhat different 
from that of the others) stipulated at each successive 
vacancy that the new Canon should give up his parish and 
dedicate himself entirely to diocesan work. He appointed 
his three Archdeacons to three of the stalls, and then, 
in the two remaining stalls, gave to one Canon charge 
of the religious education of the diocese, and to the other 
supervision of Mission work. Four of the five Winchester 
Canons thus had given up all other duties, and were settled 
in permanent homes in the Cathedral Close. 

This was his reply to the question so often asked 
in these practical days. What is the use of a Cathedral 
establishment ? He did not care to shelter it behind the 
time-honoured plea of dignity, or treat it as a place of 
honourable retirement for worn-out clerics, or defend it as 
the home of cultured literary ease ; nor did he say much 


about a Cathedral as a pattern of daily worship for a diocese, 
or build on the magnificence of the fabric. His one 
desire was to make the Cathedral the true centre of his 
diocesan system ; to -place there the best men he could 
select to lead in the different branches of the work, and to 
use them as his council and advisers in all diocesan 

It is not always easy or simple to carry out such a 
scheme ; Deans may be restive, Canons unwilling ; but some 
such application of the Cathedral body to practical work 
is necessary if the institution is to survive. The Chapters 
will not last, unless they prove themselves useful to the 
Church. In cities whichi have great populations the 
Cathedral staff may find plentiful opportunities at home ; 
where the Cathedral stands in a little country town or 
village, the staff will have in the end to be employed 
throughout the diocese as the Bishop's lieutenants, the 
leaders of every good work, the skilled teachers and 
preachers of the Gospel. 

In speaking of the Conferences established by the Bishop 
we noticed his strong desire to enlist in all kinds of Church 
work the help of the laity as well as the more formal and 
official services of the clergy. He greatly desired to see 
a system of authorised lay readers or lay evangelists, which 
might secure to the Church the enthusiasm and energy of 
many who are often drawn away from us by finding work 
ready to their hand elsewhere. He hoped to see mission- 
work in various forms much developed and expanded ; 
** the Wesleyans," he says, " have created the very mission 
agencies we lack and must get. Oh that they would but 
come in to us ! " The difldculties in the way of organising 
lay-work among men proved too great for him, so that, 
though he admitted a few lay-readers, beginning in 1869, 
but little result followed from it. On the other hand, he 


was one of the first to see the importance of obtaining the 
great benefit of women's work in the Church, and guided 
with much skill and moderation the system of deaconesses, 
which he carried over with such success to Winchester 
that his successor did not hesitate to speak of it as " one 
of the best bits of work that my venerated predecessor 
ever took in hand." The Bishop's aim was to steer clear 
of the more formal dedications and vows imposed on 
women in sisterhoods, and to make his deaconess-system 
take up a position half-way between women bound by 
solemn vows and the simpler machinery of parish and 
district visitors. 

One would think that no doubt could possibly be thrown 
on the wisdom of a plan by which the energies of devoted 
women might be secured for social and religious work. 
There are great reserves of strength and work in the 
women of England for all good ^nd noble objects ; and 
the system of deaconesses, on which many have looked 
coldly and with a most undeserved suspiciousness, was 
so framed as to elicit the power of work, while it also 
discouraged mere excitable feeling. It was also a most 
praiseworthy attempt to revive in the English Church the 
ancient and distinct Order of women dedicated to the 
humaner side of religious work, the friends of the sufferer 
and the heart-broken, the advisers of struggling workers 
in their homes. In no more effectual way does our 
Church hold out a friendly hand to the wage-earner. 
These pious and earnest women can find open hearts 
where the clergyman would meet only with respect, if 
even with that ; they can pass safely, as messengers of 
gentle sympathy and compassion, ministers of the love 
of Christ, through the darkest byways of the world. 

Attention had been called to the office of Deaconess 
early in the present century, when Robert Southey advo- 


cated the revival of it about 1820 : it was actively taken 
up in Germany at Kaiserwerth, where a Deaconess' Home 
was opened in 1833. In England the thought long found 
no acceptance ; the first note of interest in the subject is to 
be found in a paper on Church Deaconesses written by 
the Rev. R. J. Hayne, Vicar of Buckland Monachorum, 
and published in 1859. Soon after this, in 1862, Dean 
Howson, then Head of the Liverpool College, read a 
paper on the subject at the Church Congress in Oxford. 

Bishop Harold Browne had begun to deal with the sub- 
ject in a very simple way. On February 5th, 1869, in the 
Palace at Ely, he admitted Miss Fanny Elizabeth Eagles 
as a deaconess for St. Peter's, Bedford, and thus set in 
motion a matter he had much at heart. There had been 
a committee of the last Diocesan Conference, which re- 
ported this year on the subject, and said that "it had 
discussed the two systems under which women are now 
working, the one with, the other without vows, and had 
decided unanimously in favour of the latter." 

In his Address at the admission and dedication of this 
lady the Bishop distinctly avoids any words which might 
seem to point to a lifelong vow expressed or understood ; 
he speaks to the Deaconess admitted as being called to 
work in this manner " as long as God shall call you to 
this office"; and only stipulates that she shall continue 
steadfast in it for "two years at least, unless by com- 
petent authority you shall be released from the same." 
He also points out to her definitely the limits and extent 
of her work. She should "seek out the sick, poor, and 
impotent folk," and " intimate their names to the curate ; 
should instruct the young, in school or otherwise, minister 
to those in hospitals, prisons, or asylums ; and, setting aside 
all unwomanly usurpation of authority in the Church, should 
seek to edify the souls of Christ's people in the faith." 


These instructions and exhortations are re-echoed in a 
sermon on " Phoebe the Deaconess of the Church which is 
at Cenchrea," preached by the Bishop in St Michael's, 
Paddington, on May 7th, 187 1, on behalf of the Deaconess* 

The Bishop summoned a meeting, in December 1870, 
at Ely, at which the Dean of Chester and other friends 
were present, in order to settle the bases of the movement 
The results were embodied in a series of regulations, after- 
wards worked into actual rules, which defined the position 
and indicated the duties of the office. 

The meeting also arranged the manner in which the 
subject should be brought directly before the Church. It 
was agreed that first the Bishops of London and Chester, and 
then the Bishop of Salisbury, should be asked to accept the 
rules ; and that when a few signatures had been obtained 
the statement should be printed and sent round to all the 
Bishops. This paper was in the end signed before circula- 
tion by the Bishops of London, Ely, Chester, Salisbury, 
Peterborough, and Bath and Wells. The appeal received 
considerable attention ; and, two years later. Bishop Harold 
Browne thought the time come for a still more definite 
attempt to organise the Institution. He accordingly drew 
up a statement on the subject, and called a meeting at Ely 
House on May 14th, 1872, at which he presided. There 
were present also the Bishops of Chichester, Peterborough, 
Salisbury, Oxford, and Llandaff, Bishop McDougall, and 
many others. Seventeen of the English Bishops had signed 
the paper of Principles and Rules for Deaconesses ; and 
several ladies already at work in different dioceses were 
present at the meeting. 

The Bishop of Ely described the movement as being 
both parochial and diocesan ; he was specially anxious to 
make it clear that there was no intention of organising 


the Deaconess* Institution in antagonism to existing or 
future Sisterhoods in the Church; that there was room 
enough and work enough for both, though the Hfe of a 
Sister might be more fascinating, and might carry with it 
attractions to the gentler sex peculiar to itself, while the 
deaconess plan had no such glamour about it. Yet he 
preferred it to the Sisterhoods, because it was an organisa- 
tion based on Scripture, and sanctioned by apostolic and 
primitive practice, and because it was to be an integral 
part of the English parochial system, worked with con- 
currence of the parish clergyman and under definite and 
direct episcopal sanction. 

The Bishop also drew up a long paper on the 
subject, in which he sums up his views in the following 
passages : — 

" It seems, then, that in the Primitive Church there were 
three orders of the ministry of men, viz.. Bishops, Presbyters, 
and Deacons (not, as the Roman Church would have it, 
'Priests, Deacons, and Sub-deacons'), and one order of 
women, viz.. Deaconesses. All these were admitted by the 
imposition of episcopal hands. To me it appears that 
Bishop Lightfoot was right when he said that the ministry 
of the Church lacks full apostolical character whilst it lacks 
the order of Deaconesses. I cannot admit that any local 
councils had the power to abolish an ordinance of the 
Apostles and a practice of the Primitive Church. Could 
even a true General Council do so? I cannot find that 
there were any substantial charges brought against dea- 
conesses. The growing practice of separating the sexes, 
and confining them to separate buildings and occupa- 
tions, though the exigency of the times may have excused 
this, cannot excuse the abolition of a primitive Order. I 
cannot admit that deaconesses were only used for the sake 
of decency in adult baptisms and the like. They evidently 
visited the sick and poor, and did other women's work 
which we now need so much. I deny emphatically that 
there is any special danger of arrogance. The danger, as 
far as I have seen in twenty-eight years' experience, is that 
deaconesses are humbled and depressed by finding them- 


selves looked down upon, as in a lower spiritual condition 
than professed * Sisters/ 

" The Anglican Church stands or falls as she is true or 
untrue to primitive principles. If a great primitive principle 
or practice has been given up, she is bound, if possible, to 
revive it. I greatly acknowledge the blessed work which 
convents of men and women did in rude ages, when violence 
stalked abroad and when faith and purity could only be 
guarded within well-defended walls. But, I submit, that 
these are much more of an anachronism than deaconesses, 
who are specially suited to the wants of the present age. 
I hope the conflict between regulars and seculars, which 
rent the mediaeval Church asunder, will not now drive out 
of our own communion the persons who of all others seem 
most suited to organise that wonian's work so needed for 
reaching those whom men can, at the best, reach very 

This new organisation, thus ably started, has on the 
whole had but a feeble existence. No part of the Church's 
work brings us nearer to the practical needs and the daily 
life of the people ; and where the system has been fairly 
worked the results have been excellent. It is very much 
to be hoped that the impulse given to it by the Bishop, 
and, almost as much, by Mrs. Harold Browne, at Ely and 
Winchester, may still lead to a large and wholesome 
development of deaconess-work in every part of the country, 
and especially among large manufacturing populations. 
The Bishop watched over the Institution, when he came 
to Farnham, with singular good will ; it has found a per- 
manent home at Portsmouth, where it has been under the 
guidance and management of its devoted Head, Sister 
Emma, with a sympathetic and hearty adviser and friend 
in Canon Durst, who was appointed by the Bishop to be 
Warden of that modest and valuable little community, 
which makes its Christian influence so well felt in Ports- 
mouth and Eastleigh and Aldershot 



BISHOP HAROLD BROWNE not only organised his 
diocese ; he illustrated the working of that organisa- 
tion by his example. He was at every man's call, sparing 
not himself, in spite of his weak health, spending himself 
and being spent for Christ His friends often regretted 
his kind inability to disappoint those who appealed to 
him. His purse, his strength, his voice, were plundered 
by all who were in need. He undertook many sermons 
which must have been a serious strain on him. Thus he 
preached (July 4th, 1868) in St Paul's at the Charity 
Children's Festival ; an occasion which interested and 
gladdened his child-loving fatherly heart. On another 
occasion (in September 1869) he preached at the opening 
of the newly-restored Parish Church of Aylesbury. There 
he had been christened many years before. After the 
service there came the inevitable luncheon, and after 
luncheon the terrible speeches. One of these, however, is 
interesting to us, as it elicited a little touch of reminiscence. 
The Bishop's health was proposed by Mr. Acton Tindal 
a very old friend and playfellow of his, and he told the 
company that in their childhood the Bishop and he used 
to sit " in a place which was nicknamed the * Birdcage,* 
into which the voice of the preacher could hardly enter 
and whence the sounds of the sleeper could scarcely 
emerge." One can imagine the look of amusement with 



which the Bishop gravely assured the party, when he rose 
to reply, that whatever Mr. Tindal might have done, he 
himself never went to sleep there, even under those 
most favourable circumstances. 

In this same year, in the month of May alone, he 
consecrated no less than five new churches, and in speaking 
on the subject ventured to doubt whether at any time 
since the beginning of the Christian era any Bishop had 
ever consecrated so many churches in a single month. 
He also sometimes took the lead, as once at Bedford, in 
those exhausting forms of evangelistic effort, parochial 
missions ; and by this encouragement, and by the earnest- 
ness he threw into the work, greatly forwarded a movement 
which has done much to deepen and strengthen the 
spiritual life of the Church, and may yet become her most 
potent engine, when she sets herself seriously to face the 
tremendous problem of the working man's life and religion. 

The Bishop's Charge of 1869 brings to the front the 
vast question of the relations of Christian Churches to 
one another, and the complex difficulties which beset 
every attempt to forward the cause of Christian unity. 
For this was the time at which the Papacy summoned 
what it styled " an CEcumenical Council," in which those 
who guided the counsels of the Roman Church desired 
to advance into matters of faith certain doctrines and 
views respecting the nature and worship of the Blessed 
Virgin Mary, and respecting the position of the Bishop 
of Rome as the infallible oracle of the Church. The 
Bishop was much moved. It seemed to him that the 
pretensions of Rome took a specially offensive form at 
the outset, in the manner in which the invitations to 
the Council were graduated. He writes thus : — 

"All Roman Catholic Bishops have received a direct 
invitation. The Eastern Churches have been invited also, 


but the invitation implies that they are in a state of schism. 
The Bishops of the Anglican Communion and those of 
.the Scandinavian Churches are either summoned under 
the general head of all Bishops, or under the general head 
of Protestants and other non-Catholics; or, lastly, they 
are not summoned at all." He adds the significant warning 
that, if invited at all, "the invitation is not only to be 
present but to submit" 

The Eastern Patriarchs, he goes on to say, had definitely 
refused to appear, alleging as their reasons — not specially 
strong ones — that, first, the Patriarch of Rome had not 
consulted them before calling the Council ; and, secondly, 
because the day selected for the opening was a day 
not recognised in the Eastern Churches, that of the 
Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our 
Bishop then gives his own reasons for refusing to appear 
at the Vatican. These are, first, the grounds formulated 
by the Eastern Patriarchs ; and, secondly, the doubt as 
to whether the Anglican Bishops are really invited at all. 
It is clear that the Roman Bishops in England are 
definitely summoned : " If we are English Bishops, they 
are not ; and, on the other hand, if they are the Catholic 
Bishops of England, we are not Bishops at all." One can 
imagine the smile with which the Vatican people would 
rejoin, " Why, precisely so." He adds also that from the 
beginning Britain was never truly within the Patriarchate 
of Rome. 

There can be no doubt that the startling claims made 
at this time by Rome turned our Bishop's mind in a 
direction in which it was prepared to travel. His yearning 
for Christian Unity was shocked by seeing that Rome 
applied to the problem the simplest of all formulas— a 
formula which we are all only too much inclined to use, 
" Submit yourselves to me, and Unity is won." This bold 
claim, with the surrender of all. private judgment or 


ecclesiastical liberties, was too much for him, as it was for 
all free-minded men. The Bishop's efforts for the Unit}' 
of Christendom will be referred to later on. 

These years were a difficult and troubled time for the 
Church. As he had written in i860, so was it when he 
went to Ely. 

"I look forward," he writes, May 23rd, i860, "to a 
very anxious time soon. The present condition is too 
marked to last long. The strong tendency to Rome and 
Rationalism must lead to some outbreak soon " ; and 
again, addressing Mr. Walter James, he reverts to his 
alarms in even stronger language. " I think much as 
you do about politics. We are in a fearful crisis in Church 
and State. I do not trust any of our rulers to carry us 
well through it, excepting Him who ruleth in the heavens. 
The Church as an establishment is very likely to go ; but 
then, if we can make peace within, she may be strong in 
her spiritual strength. The danger is that when the State 
scaffolding is taken down, all the stones and timbers will 
be found loosened and disjointed. If it be so, Rome and 
heathenism will divide the spoil ; but I trust it will not 
be so." 

There was irritation within and without the Church. 
The aggressive High Church party, as it grew stronger, 
aroused the vehement antagonism of those who fought under 
the revered name of Lord Shaftesbury, not because of his 
benevolence and good works, but for his theological narrow- 
ness ; with his aid they tried to crush their opponents, and, 
if that could not be done, then to drive them out of the 
English Church. Between the combatants stood a group of 
moderate Anglicans, sympathising with neither party, liking 
neither the innovations of the one side nor the narrow con- 
servatism of the other. The Bishop of Lincoln received 
from the Bishop of Rochester, and forwarded on to Bishop 
Harold Browne in 1865, a letter on "subjects for con- 
sideration," which shews how anxious the moderates were 
to discourage extremes. The subjects were : — 


" I. The Address of the Bishops in 185 1 to check ritual 
and rubrical excesses. 

"2. How to act where the law as now interpreted is 
insufficient to restrain ill-advised clergymen. 

" 3. How to rebuke the public exhibition of vestments and 
unauthorised services lately paraded before the Church at 

" 4. The choral system and its tendencies evidently alien 
to the promotion of simple congregational psalmody. 

" 5. Queen Emma's cause. 

*' 6. On the General Thanksgiving : on repeating it aloud 
by the whole congregation like the General Confession." 

Soon after these days the Ritual Commission came into 
being, to inquire into the rubrics, etc., for public worship, 
the ornaments used in churches, the vestments to be worn 
by the clergy in their ministrations, and to suggest altera- 
tions, improvements, or amendments in such matters ; also 
to revise the Proper Lessons for Sundays and Holy Days, 
and the general Table of Lessons. The Commission sat in 
the Jerusalem Chamber, and began its work in June 1867. 

A little before this time, in 1866, having been appealed 
to by a friend to give his opinion on the much agitated 
questions of the character of the Holy Communion in the 
English Church, Bishop Harold Browne wrote a pamphlet 
in letter form, under the title of " Sacrifice — Altar — Priest : 
in six letters to a Friend." 

This weighty series of papers was elicited by the declara- 
tion of his " Friend," that the Bishop's words had " seemed 
to deny the existence of a true altar and of a literal 
sacrifice in the Church." Thus challenged, he was not at 
all unwilling to state, with wonted learning and moderation, 
what seemed to him to be the position of the English 
Church on these important and rather intricate matters. 

He begins by begging to be allowed to lay down defi- 
nitions ; for most differences and disagreements are due 
to the want of them. So he appeals at once to the 


Hebrew for " sacrifice " and " altar " ; it being obvious 
that all the sacrificial language of the New Testament is 
directly borrowed from the Old, and also that the Greek 
language had to coin certain phrases or words to meet 
this transference from the Hebrew. And he ends his 
first letter by saying that, in theological language, though 
in secondary and improper senses we may call other 
things " sacrifices " or " altars," yet in strict use " sacri- 
fice " is always the slaying of a victim, and " altar " the 
place whereon the victim dies. 

To this letter the " Friend " replied that the Bishop had 
invented a meaning for " altar " and " sacrifice," and had 
inferred thence that in those senses the terms might be 
used of the Holy Table and the Holy Eucharist 

This carries the Bishop, in his second letter, a stage 
farther on his path. It must be granted that " sacrifice," 
"altar," and the related terms come to us from the Old 
Testament. The early Christians knew the Jewish dis- 
tinction between the sacrifice with the blood-shedding and 
the sacrifice without it; and he shews that the "pure 
offering," the phrase used by Malachi (i. ii), is frequently 
applied by the writers of the Primitive Church to the Holy 
Eucharist, and is the sacrifice without shedding of blood 

The same thing is true of the use of " altar," whereon 
was a distinctly " commemorative sacrifice," — />., an action 
performed which was not strictly sacrificial, but only 
commemorative of the One Sacrifice on the Cross. And 
he draws the conclusion that the Churches should have 
communion tables, which, being the place of this solemn 
" commemorative sacrifice," may also without impropriety 
be styled " altars." This is very different from the usage 
of the Roman Church, which makes the Communion sacri- 
fice a " verum et proprium sacrificium." 

When the primitive Church was reproached by the 


heathen that it had no sacrificial altars, the reply was, 
"Non cUtaria fabricamus, non arasl^ and down to the 
third and fourth centuries they carefully used the beautiful 
word eirxapurrla, or thank-offering, to express the " sacrifice " 
of the Holy Communion. The Bishop ends by saying 
that there is " but one sacrifice, that of Christ on the Cross, 
of which the Passover was the type and the Eucharist the 
memorial." In the fourth letter the Bishop returns to 
the analogy between the Passover and the Eucharist. In 
the former there was (i) the slaying of the victim, and (2) the 
feasting on the slain. So in the Eucharist the actual sacri- 
fice of Christ on the Cross is commemorated in the 
breaking of bread and pouring forth of wine, while the 
second part of the Passover, the feasting, is represented in 
the actual partaking of the holy elements. 

And in this way, says good Bishop Andrewes, " Good 
Friday is His, Easter Day ours ; the Passover doth not con- 
clude in the sacrifice the taking away of sin only, that is^ 
in a pardon and there an end ; but in a feast, which is 
a sign not of forgiveness only but of perfect amity, full 

And he ends the letter >y pointing out that Andrewes 
was " very high on the Eucharist ; " that is, was thoroughly 
and strictly Anglican, but not in the least Roman. 

From Andrewes the Bishop (in his fifth letter) passes on 
to Cosin, shewing that he too is distinctly opposed to the 
Roman doctrine of the " real, proper, propitiatory sacrifice" 
in the Eucharist, and to the actual transubstantiation of 
the elements ; but that he held that there was an actual 
- Eucharistic sacrifice, and a sacramental spiritual presence 
in the souls (not in the bodies) of those who faithfully 
receive that holy sacrampnt. He sums up the subject 
by pointing out that in the Funeral Discourse on Bishop 
Andrewes it is said that " Crux est altare Christi," and 



that Christ cannot truly be offered or sacrificed again, and 
that the representation of an action cannot be the action 

The remaining letter treats of the word " priest *' in the 
same manner. The word itself is " Presbyter writ small " ; 
yet it is a transference from the Hebrew " Cohen." But the 
sacrifices which this Christian Priest offers up are sacrifices 
of praise and thanksgiving, the true Eucharistic sacrifices. 

This it was that led the Bishop to the very end of his 
life to dislike the " Eastward Position," because he thought 
it was distinctly associated with a tendency to confuse the 
literal with the figurative sacrifice of the Christian altar ; 
and for the same reason he was shy of using, without 
limitation, the word Altar when speaking of the Holy 

Before long the subject came before the lawyers. The 
Bishop's utterances on the judlgment in the Court of Arches 
on the " Purchas case " were exceedingly prudent In one 
of his addresses (in 1 871) he gives a very reasonable and 
moderate statement as to the authority and value of the 
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, saying that 
"according to the present constitution in Church and 
State there is no means whatever of arriving at a final 
conclusion on the significance of some confessedly obscure 
rubrics, except by an appeal to this Judicial Committee ** ; 
and he charges distinctly in favour of obedience to the 
Law when stated by that body. 

" There have always," he adds, " been two great schools 
of thought in the Church, and it would be an evil day for 
us all if one of these schools should have the will and the 
power to crush out the other." 

And then counselling wise obedience he adds that — 

" He confessed he was unable to understand how, for 
instance, the meaning, the solemnity, or the eflSciency of a 


Sacrament ordained by Christ Himself for our soul's health, 
and therefore sure to bless those who receive it aright, 
could be materially affected by the posture or position of 
him who ministered it, or the cut or colour of the vestments 
in which he ministered. . . . The straining after uni- 
formity in minor matters has too often broken the unity 
in faith and charity and brotherly love " ; and he ends by 
hoping that the Church will arrive at a temperate middle 
course, in which all may join in fighting against "the 
leaguered hosts of unbelief." 

For his alarm was great lest infidelity should get the 
upper hand in Europe. " There is creeping up," he says, 
** silently, and scarcely silently, an infidelity of an extent 
never before known in Europe " ; and he does not shrink 
from using the old and unjust argument, that the unbe- 
lievers stir up one another to infidelity (which [is true 
enough), " and consequently to immorality of life," which 
is certainly not true in our day of many of the leaders of 
opinion opposed to the Christian faith. They are only 
too ready to retaliate by charging us with neglecting, for 
the sake of our creeds, the rudiments of morality and the 
just principles of social life. 

Not long after the Purchas Judgment the very different 
Bennett Judgment was given in 1872, in the Court of 
Arches. In this Sir R. Phillimore decided that a minister 
of the Church of England might say that there is an actual 
and real presence in the Holy Communion, external to the 
worshipper, and in the consecrated elements ; but that it 
would be unlawful to teach (i) that there is a visible 
presence of Our Lord on the altar at the celebration of 
Holy Communion, and (2) that adoration is due to the 
elements. The Judicial Committee declared on appeal that 
the Court of Arches was not a Synod, and had no authority 
to enunciate any doctrine of the Church of England, but 
only to decide whether a man's utterances were or were not 


a contravention of the formularies of the Church, and 
therefore, if so, liable to punishment They decided first, 
that Mr. Bennett's utterances on the Real Presence did 
not contradict the Church's formularies. Next, as to the 
declaration by Mr. Bennett that the Holy Table is an 
altar of sacrifice, they reply that they do not think it clear 
that he uses the word " sacrifice " in such a way as to con- 
tradict the language of the formularies. And, lastly, as to 
the adoration ; they came to the conclusion (not without 
doubts and division of opinions) that this third charge was 
not so clearly made out as to justify penal proceedings ; 
and that respondent was entitled to the benefit of the doubt 
And so in the end they only admonish Mr. Bennett that 
his language is rash and ill-judged, and perilously near 
a violation of the law. And so, here again, the decision of 
the Judicial Committee was favourable to liberty. 

This judgment was deeply interesting to our Bishop ; 
his words on it, as usual, are judicious and sensible : — 

" The Court," he says, " has indeed ruled that a clei^yman 
cannot be punished for maintaining * a real, actual, objective 
Presence in the Eucharist, so long as he does not teach 
that it is the corporal presence of the natural body of 
Christ in the elements. And as the Apostle tells us that 
the body of Christ is no longer natural but spiritual, it is 
not likely that any well-educated clergyman will assert a 
natural presence now. 

" On the other hand, the Court has stated, in a dictum 
perhaps extra-judicial, that the Church has not by her 
Articles and formularies affirmed any presence in the 
Eucharist which is not a presence to the soul of the faithful 
receiver. ... I am not about to speak as a Theologian on this 
deep subject. I could much have desired that it had been 
left in the depth of its profound and blessed mystery. The 
modern terms of * objective ' and * Receptionist * seem well 
nigh as much to be deprecated as the more ancient dis- 
tinction between * substance ' and * accident,' a distinction 
which modern philosophy refuses to accept, and yet without 
which the theories known as Transubstantiation and Con* 


substantiation become simply impossible. Leaving these 
questions for the present, I gladly express my satisfaction 
that neither in the one direction nor in the other has 
the judgment of the Court narrowed the terms of our 
Communion. I hold as an axiom too plain to be questioned 
that the Church is not a Church but a sect, unless it can 
embrace every faithful Christian" — and the Bishop goes 
on to define the " good Christian " as one who acknowledges 
" the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Atonement, the Sacrifice, 
the Judgment" 

These struggles between the revived belief in the vital 
powers of the Church, as distinct from the elementary need 
of personal religion in the individual, fill up a large part 
of the Bishop's years at Ely. At one time it is a contest 
as to vestments, at another about postures, at another 
about the nature of the Presence of our Lord, things best 
when felt, worst when defined; again, the Bishop has to 
make reply to the sixty thousand of the laity who remon- 
strated against ritual ; or to the four hundred and eighty 
of the clergy who, on the contrary, called for an advance 
in the opposite direction. In replying to these, he tries to 
allay fever, by pointing out a more serious danger, the 
danger from independent thought, that true, if disowned, 
child of Protestantism. He had found, he told them, 
among the young men he had examined " little or no bias 
towards Romanism ; oftener, I regret to say, some little 
tendency towards Rationalism or extreme Liberalism." It 
was rather a dangerous hint : more than once in the history 
of religious parties we have seen an alarming attempt to 
bring about a coalition between High Church and Low, 
not for the purpose of seeing how far they could agree 
together, or even whether they might agree to differ, but in 
order that they might fall with the greater weight on the 
iberal party in the Church, and either crush or expel it. 
Happily this narrowing of our Church has never succeeded. 


"Church Education" seems always to be on the edge 
of a crisis ; and certainly in 1870 there were some grounds 
for saying so. We do not find that the Bishop of Ely was 
seized with the customary panic; he saw clearly enough 
that the right course for the Church was to preserve 
her schools, where she could reasonably do it ; and where 
not, instead of lavishing abuse on the State for her honour- 
able attempt to secure the education of every citizen, to 
take steps to secure religious teaching as a reality. He 
was alarmed, as he shews when speaking on the subject at 
Ely (October i8th, 1870):— 

" I think meetings are desirable, as the clergy and laity 
seem very apathetic, not, as I believe, at all sdive to the 
extreme difficulty of making a rate-paid school anything 
but purely secular ; and the probability that under a suc- 
cessful secular system there will be no other education, 
Sunday schools, night schools, etc, all pretty certainly 
failing before it I am anxious that the clergy should not 
shut their eyes to the danger of rate-paid schools. A Uttle 
exertion and self-denial now may save us from what I am 
sure must result from the School Board system, viz., the 
entire exclusion of the clergy from all share in the teaching 
of the children of the poor." 

It is not quite easy to realise the tone of mind of a man 
who saw with his own eyes all manner of religious agencies 
springing up into life and vigour, and who yet despaired, 
as he often seemed to do, of the future of religion in this 
country. There is a tone of despondency about his utter- 
ances ; he is not like Bishop Wilberforce, sang^uine, hopeful, 
on the crest of a swelling tide; it seems to him that 
politically and religiously England was plunging into the 
darkness. We can see a little later, in 1872, how he pro- 
posed to face the problems arising from the Elementary 
Education Act of 1870. He desired, as we all do, to 
" strengthen and encourage religious education in Church 


schools, and especially in those which should hereafter be 
carried on as public elementary schools under the new 
Act" So that he does not speak in 1872 of Board Schools 
as naturally and inevitably hostile to Christianity, or as 
things to be passed by in horror. The practical upshot 
was the organisation of a Diocesan Board of Education, 
first, to supply inspection in religious teaching for Church 
schools ; secondly, to draw up a scheme of religious 
teaching ; and, thirdly, to provide for the examination of 
pupil teachers. 

One important matter remains, the agitation over the 
disestablishment and partial disendowment of the English 
Church in Ireland, which went on from 1868 to 1872. 
That our Bishop regarded the subject with great anxiety 
\s clear from his visitations in 1869. 

" This year," he says, " for the first time since the gospel 
came into the world, has a Christian nation solemnly and 
deliberately — I say not now whether wisely or not — cast off 
its connection with the Christian Church in one integral 
portion of its empire, has diverted to secular purposes all 
that which had been set aside for more than a thousand 
years by the piety of forefathers for the maintenance of 
the worship and the faith of Christ." 

The passage is scarcely one of historical exactness ; it 
is given here to shew with what emotion the Bishop, himself 
an Anglo-Irishman, regarded the stroke which had fallen 
on the Anglican Church in Ireland He first threw in the 
weight of his influence on the side of what is styled " Con- 
current Endowment," as we learn from a letter of his 
addressed to Bishop McDougall : — 

" Ely House, July yd, 1869. 

" I voted for concurrent endowment last night to the 
extent of providing houses and glebes for clergy of the 
Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches, and for the Pres- 


byterians. I think it would be far better than confiscating 
gifts to God for lunatics and monthly nurses, and that it 
would have been really the most healing measure ; but the 
Liberation Society overawed the Whigs, and the Ultra- 
Protestants frightened the Tories, and so neither party voted 
as a lai^e proportion of them thought would be best" 

The thought underlying this plan is that the State 
regards all religious opinions as on the same level, and, 
considering religion as a help to Government, is willing to 
join in keeping it alive in the world. It was Hume's view, 
but certainly not the view of the Bishop of Ely. 

There are several lines of argument against the dis- 
establishment and disendowment of a national Church. 
The most untenable is perhaps the most common : how 
often have we heard the impassioned orator, the fiery 
pamphleteer, denounce it as if it were a proposal to destroy 
the Church itself Listening to much of the eloquence 
lavished on this topic, one has to ask whether it is true, 
as some of our Roman critics love to tell us, that we are 
nothing but a state-born creation, a "special department"; 
that our creeds are of no importance, our orders a delusion, 
our religious faith and principles a shadow ! Those who 
use this argument are but poor friends to Christianity. 
No human being ventures to say that an Established 
Church of any kind existed before Constantine ; it is to 
be hoped that no one thinks that the Christian religion 
was first invented by that great Emperor. Anyhow, the 
Bishop of Ely, though in some more rhetorical passages 
he comes rather near it, is careful to avoid such a fatal 
line of argument. To him, as, let us hope, to us also, 
the Church is the reality, the Establishment is but the 
accident. He says, and it sounds rather strange and 
unlike what one would expect (July i8th, 1868):— "I 
do not care for disestablishment, if it did not carry dis- 


endowment, though I do not think a nation ought to 
be without a national Church through which it may utter 
its voice to God." And in another place he says, very 
sensibly, that " if the clergy prefer their own ease to the 
souls of their people, the Church as an Establishment, ue, as 
a Church acknowledged by the nation, must go, and ought 
to go." And again, he does not lose sight of what is behind. 
"We met at Lambeth yesterday (February 9th, 1869) 
about the Irish Church and other matters ; but I do not 
think we did much. Between ourselves, the two Primates 
think too much of the Establishment and too little of the 
Church, I would fight for the Establishment while there 
was hope ; but, if we are beaten upon that, I am for 
making the best terms for the Church that can be got." 

It will be seen from this that the Bishop was very far 
from being a fanatical defender of Established Churches, as 
such ; and, in truth, his utterances seemed to many eager 
partisans to be far too moderate. He was above all things 
fair-minded ; and no warmth of feeling— and he did feel 
warmly on the point — blinded his ey^s to the truth. He 
therefore both said things and made admissions which 
shocked out-and-out "Church and State" people. 

There are several lines of argument on which, at different 
epochs. Church Establishments have been, and often still 
are, defended. There is the argument from Historical 
Antiquity, and the respect due to ancient institutions ; 
there is the now unused argument that the Established 
Church exclusively represents the truth, while no other 
religious body does so ; or, put another way, that in some 
unexplained manner the State chose out the true form 
of religion and adopted it as its own ; so that to all ages 
that chosen form alone would be worthy of State support 
and would enjoy the privilege of being the mouthpiece 
of 'the State or the Sovereign in all solemn ceremonies 


and acts. There is the argument that a State ought to 
recognise God, as the people of that State do ; and that 
such recognition must have a convenient expression in a 
State Church. There is the Hume argument, that the 
State has in the Church a good police machinery, and 
therefore subsidises it, just as it does the army or navy,, 
in order that it may help in keeping order. There is the 
special argument, largely used in this controversy, that the 
"Church of Ireland as by law established " was an element 
of the Act of Union, and could not be disestablished 
without great risk to that settlement ; there was also the 
facile argument that the Roman Church is the " residuary 
legatee " of all Established Churches, and that in Ireland, 
where that Church is predominant, it must reap the chief 
advantage from any change. There is also the social 
ai^ument, that of the " educated gentleman in every parish 
of the land," — which influences the opinion of the working 
classes as much against as for an Established Church. 
There is the old view that the upper classes are bound to 
provide the lower classes with such a religion as their own 
sagacity and use teaches them may be good for their 
dependents and labourers ; and, again, there is the view 
that a national Church is established and endowed by the 
will of the nation, expressed in such a way as the nation 
can express itself, and that the pre-eminence and the 
profit, the two elements of the position, can be taken away 
by those who gave it. This last way of regarding the 
matter brings us up into the important question of the 
rights of property, and to the argument that tithes and 
other Church property, being given by God, can be 
resumed only by Him. 

The unsatisfactory state of the Anglican Church in 
Ireland had long been felt As far back as 1833, the Irish 
Temporalities Act had endeavoured to diminish the evil 


and get rid of some of the unpopularity of that Church. 
Nothing could hide from Irish eyes the fact that it was an 
alien body imposed on it from England ; nothing could 
alter the great disproportion between the numbers of those 
who belonged to that Church, and those Irish who were 
either Roman Catholics or Presbyterians. And so in 1868 
the whole subject came up again, after the General Election 
had placed Mr. Gladstone at the head of affairs with an 
overwhelming majority. His Bill was carried through the 
Commons in 1869, by a majority of 114. The resistance 
to it in the Upper House was not very strong ; many were 
half-hearted. The Bishop of Oxford (Wilberforce) abstained 
altogether. " I did not vote against the second reading," 
he says, " and if I had not missed an opportunity of ex- 
pressing my views, 1 should have supported it." And even 
Lord Selborne, writing years after, could only say that he 
did not in 1869 think that the confiscations and confusions 
of the civil wars, which had given the Anglican Church in 
Ireland her property, were " a good reason for taking it all 

Bishop Harold Browne had meant to speak on the 
second reading in the Lords ; but, finding a strong feeling 
that too many episcopal speeches would be a mistake, 
he refrained and published his thoughts in the form of a 
Letter entitled " A Speech not Spoken," addressed to the 
Lord Chancellor of England, Lord Hatherley. 

This letter was temperate and courteous ; it treats matters 
so frankly, and makes admissions so honestly, that the 
more eager defenders were aghast He begins by con- 
ceding that the Irish Church is the Church of one-ninth of 
the population only, and calls this an anomaly ; he also 
gives Mr. Gladstone full honour and credit for excellent 
motives. He allows that the Bill was brought in to remedy 
a real grievance, to conciliate a nation, to do even-handed 


justice to all ; he admits that Ireland had for centuries 
suffered grievous wrong at the hands of her English 
masters ; and takes the ground from under his own feet 
by conceding that the " Irish Church is a badge of con- 
quest/' and by pointing out that in this respect it was but 
on a level with the Castle Government and the rest of it 
Matters were not mended when he points out that the 
conquest was not one of Irish by English, or of Catholics 
by Protestants, but of the less Papal Irish Church by the 
Norman Papal Catholics. The same power in Church and 
State which had conquered England undertook also the 
conquest of Ireland. The evils which vexed Ireland 
had existed also in England ; England had modified and 
softened them ; in Ireland they had been hardened and 
made more and more repulsive by successive acts of conquest 

He speaks boldly of the faults of the ruling nation. He 
points out that the English at the Reformation made the 
fatal blunder of forbidding the Irish language, and of 
treating the reformed Episcopal Church of Ireland as 
English in all respects. Naturally, the Roman Church 
stepped in as the champion of the people. Her clergy 
encouraged the Irish language, fostered the Irish nation- 
ality, and swept off with it the bulk of the impulsive 
Irish people. The English lords of the land learnt nothing 
by this. They steadily treated the Established Church as 
a plunder-ground, regarding it as they long regarded India, 
simply as a place in which money could be made. Bishop 
Harold Browne says honestly that the richest preferments 
were filled with "ecclesiastics who would not have been 
tolerated in like positions in England." 

Having granted these points, he then proceeds, very 
ingeniously and moderately, to base his opposition to this 
disestablishment and disendowment, first, on the Anglican 
view, which he always supported warmly, that the Aposto- 


lical Succession was never broken in Ireland or in 
England, and that therefore the " Protestant " Episcopal 
Church was the true Church of Ireland ; and, next, he 
urges the somewhat ineffective argument that as the 
nations of England and Ireland have become one, so the 
Churches of the two countries have also become one 
Church, and therefore that the large majority in England 
may still, by a kind of continued conquest, be allowed to 
supplement the small minority in Ireland. " It was obvious 
that the minority must yield to the majority, though 
unfortunately the great body of the dissentients were 
separated from the great body of the conformists by 
seventy miles of sea." 

The best part of the " Speech not Spoken " is the close, 
in which, having thus coupled the two Churches together, 
he declares that the Church of England, like that of 
Ireland, though it may cease to be national, will still 
survive and will still be strong. And then he passes on 
to sketch with the force of conviction the future of the 
Anglican Communion across the world : — 

"By good and steady organisation it may perhaps be 
kept as one great patriarchate, united and independent. 
It cannot be done if every private opinion and every 
sectarian prejudice be pressed against the common good 
and to the disunion of the whole. But if clergy and laity 
will join together with mutual confidence, if men will fight 
and pray against extreme practices, against personal 
whims, against isolated and insubordinate courses, if they 
will renounce bitter recriminations, and, above all, discredit 
and discountenance violent religious periodicals (on the 
one side or the other), there may be a hope that United 
Anglicanism — at home, in America, and in the Colonies — 
may hold fast to catholic, primitive, and evangelical truths 
though its nationalism may have been scattered to the 
winds of heaven." 

This letter was first sent to Lord Hatherley before 


publication) and received from that zealous Churchman 
the following kindly acknowledgment : — 

"Jun€4lk, 1869. 

" My dear Lord,— I cannot regard your honouring me 
by the Address of your 'unspoken Speech' otherwise 
than as a mark of your kindness and your belief that I 
am capable of appreciating all arguments — a habit indeed 
that must necessarily be formed by judicial experience. 
I can assure you I feel that it is a blessing to any Staig 
to be enfolded within the Church, though it is not so easy 
for the Church to profit by the State's aid without loss of 
its own purity ; but a " National " Church forced on a 
nation is to me something aroirov, I can't literally find 
a place for it in my conception ; and to have the English 
branch of the Church supposed to be bound to maintain 
that view would all but make me despair of our future, 
i confess I can and do (dream of, perhaps) conceive the 
great Western branch of the Church Catholic as literally 
spreading over the earth as the waters cover the sea — ^not 
the corrupt but reformed Western Church, including not 
impossibly the Churches of Italy and Spain, but at least 
those of America (North) and Australia. 

" Believe me, with great respect, 

" Yours very ifaithfully, 

" Hatherley." 

In reply to this note, the Bishop made the following 
explanation, which seems to indicate that he did not feel 
his position very strong. It also perhaps gives a reason 
for his having just before advocated a policy of concurrent 

•* Ely House, June 5M, 1869. 

" My dear Lord, — I am much obliged to you for taking 
so kindly my somewhat bold address to you and use of 
your name. I entirely agree with you in thinking it 
intolerable that a Church should be forced on an unwilling 
nation — assuming, of course, that Ireland is a distinct 
nation. But may I just say these few words of explanation ? 

" The point of my argument is, that the Church was 
(not forced upon but) willingly and joyfully accepted by 


the Irish people. If anything was forced on it, it was not 
the Church, but the Reformation of the Church. Much 
then and deeply as I value the Reformation, I can under- 
stand that a reasonable claim may be urged for the repeal 
of the Reformation ; but I can see no case for the tremendous 
step of rejecting nationally the Church altogether. 

" Pardon these few words of explanation, which need no 
reply, and believe me, 

" With the truest esteem and respect, 

" Your Lordship's very faithfully, 

"E. H. Ely. 
"The Lord Chancellor." 

It was right and natural that the Bishop should send 
another early copy to the statesman in charge of the Bill ; 
from whom there came a brief and vigorous reply, in very 
friendly language : — 

" n, Carlton House Terrace; 

June Zth, 1869. 

" My dear Lord Bishop of Ely,— I thank you very 
sincerely for your Letter to the Chancellor, which I have 
read with a cordial admiration of its ability, charity, and 

" I need hardly say that it contains much which com- 
mands my assent : much more which compels me to differ. 

" Our point of parting company is the view which your 
Lordship takes of corporate property. The State which 
refuses to allow a perpetuity even in the line of natural 
descent can never in my opinion escape from the respon- 
sibility of a high and paramount stewardship over all 
corporate property whatever, ecclesiastical or lay. That 
passage from Bishop Butler* which has been quoted 

* In a letter written December 22nd, 1747 (when he was Bishop 
of Bristol), that most thoughtful of prelates, discussing the position of 
Church property, fearlessly attacks the notion that Church goods are 
God's special and indefeasible gift to any Church. 

" Property in general," he writes, *• is and must be regulated by the 
laws of the community. . . . We may with good conscience retain any 
possession, Church lands or tithes, which the laws of the state we live 
under give us a property in. . . . 

'' Under the Mosaic dispensation, indeedi God Himself assigned to 


repeatedly during this arduous controversy, expressed my 
creed upon the subject 
" I remain, with much respect, my dear Lord Bishop, 

" Faithfully yours, 

"W. E. Gladstone." 

The Bill in due course of time became law ; and the 
Bishop referred to it more than once in his visitation 
addresses in the autumn of 1869. At Cambridge he went 
so far (in his kindly anxiety for the Irish clergy) as to 
suggest that " the clergy of the English Church should 
give one per cent, of their official incomes for so many 
years in aid of the Church and clergy of Ireland." This 
proposal came to nothing through the spirited reply of 
an Irish clergyman present, who assured the assembled 
Churchmen that it would be simply ruin to the Irish Church 
if it were taught to lean on any but itself for support 

In another place he ventures, in speaking on the subject, 
on an interesting forecast when he says that — 

" Very probably we may be passing as much into 
another atmosphere and another world as those who lived 
in the time of Constantine or of Charlemagne, or of 
Gregory VII. or of the Reformation." 

the priests and Levites tithes and other possessions; and in those 
possessions they had a Divine right ; a property quite superior to all 
human laws, ecclesiastical as well as civil. But every donation to the 
Christian Church is a human donation and no more; and therefore 
cannot give a Divine right, but such a right only as must be subject in 
common with all other property to the regulation of human laws. . . . 
No one can have a right to perpetuity in any land, except it be given 
him by God, as the land of Canaan was to Abraham. . . . 

" The persons then who gave these lands to the Church had them- 
selves no right of perpetuity in them, consequenUy could convey no 
such right to the Church. ... I have considered tithes and Church 
lands as the same, because I see no sort of proof that tithes under the 
gospel are of Divine right ; and if they are not, they must come under 
the same consideration with lands." — From FUxgeraUTs Edition of 
Butler's Analogy ^ Preface, p. xciii. 


The future story of the widespread revival of religious 
feeling and energy in this country alone can shew how 
far this hopeful outlook will be justified. He was not 
always so sanguine. 

" From Constantine to the American Revolution Chris- 
tian nations have ever been in union with the Church ; 
now in the nineteenth century we are trying the ex- 
periment of dissolving this union. ... It is true that the 
real principle, idea, history, and name of a national Church 
have degenerated into the notion of an Established 
Church, and so people have thought and spoken as if the 
nation, finding some twenty or thirty different forms of 
faith, woke up one morning, and examining each form, 
selected one for itself and established it. But this will not 
stand the test of history. 

"... To pass from principle to practice, can any one 
doubt that the position of a Church acknowledged and 
defended as the National Church is far more favourable 
for action than that of a Church left to the precarious 
charity of each separate congregation ? Perhaps the town 
clergy of a disestablished Church would be richer than at 
present — but how about the country parishes ? 

"... The evil of the opposite system is that it can 
only give the supply where there is the demand, and the 
demand is always least where the need is greatest 

"... If the Church ceases to be acknowledged univer- 
sally as the English Church, we may strengthen our 
position, but must narrow it We do not now teach 
youth Church principles, but religious principles ; if dis- 
established, we should have to teach them how to justify 
our position. People press on us, and we follow their 
wishes, a liberal way of dealing with our people generally ; 
this will become impossible if we cease to be the 
acknowledged Church of the nation." 

Other forecasts which he made have not yet been 

"The confiscation of tithes," he said, "will infallibly 
entail bloodshed and anarchy of the most fearful character, 
the universal absenteeism of landlords, and the probable 



extermination of all Protestants"; and, again, "The 
English established endowed Church will not last five 
years after the destruction of the Irish " ; and, again, "The 
Scotch establishment will probably go still sooner." All 
these things would be part of "the terrible triumph of 
unbelief and of the world, rationalism, radicalism, with 
probably an intensified and more utterly corrupted 
Romanism, bearing sway, and trampling down all truth 
and holiness." 

These gloomy forebodings have not yet found their 
fulfilment, but have gone the way of most prophecies 
uttered in times of panic and excitement. 

While Bishop Harold Browne was at Ely, he published 
many smaller pieces, some of them involving much 
thought and care. Some of these charges, letters, sermons, 
we have noticed in passing ; other publications demand a 
word. Perhaps the most interesting of his publications in 
this period is a volume of three sermons preached at 
Cambridge, which give his views on the limits of Church 
comprehension, and contain an appendix stating the 
Bishop's views as to the Apostolical Succession, handled 
carefully and temperately : it served as his manifesto cwi 
the one hand against the Roman theory of the unity of the 
Church, and on the other against the Congregationalists 
with their independent Churches grouped together by a 
central organisation. The Bishop's yearning for unity 
within the English Church shews itself throughout these 
sermons ; for the sake of it he would allow great latitude, 
especially on the Holy Eucharist, as to which opinions 
ranged from Zwinglianism to a physical theory very like 

" Why can it not be that those who hold Christ present 
in the handy and those who acknowledge Him only in the 
heart, should yet meet and worship, and kneel and feed 
together, feed on Him, who is the only food of the soul ? . . . 


Can any difference as to the how, the when, the where, 
in this presence and this sacrifice, and this feeding on the 
sacrifice, be comparable to the deep unity of those 
who believe in the Presence and the Sacrifice and the 

He is willing to widen the Church's limits ti) this 
direction, though he is silent as to the amount of toleration 
to be conceded to independence of opinion and judgment 
on such matters as the authority of Holy Writ, the 
relations between the human and the Divine in the person 
of Jesus Christ, the manner of the operation of the Holy 
Spirit, and other points of theological nicety. 

On the sudden death of Bishop Wilberforce in the autumn 
of 1873, the See of Winchester was offered to and accepted 
by the Bishop of Ely. At this moment he was intent 
on the celebration of the twelve-hundredth anniversary of 
St. Etheldreda, patron saint of Ely Cathedral ; and this 
commemoration became the scene on which the well-loved 
Bishop bade farewell to his flock. His sermon on the 
occasion aroused the bitter hostility of the Romanists in 
England. He enlarged, as might have been foreseen from 
his well-known views, on the unity from earliest days of the 
Church of England. 

It now only remained for him to bid farewell to his 
friends and the diocese over which he had ruled so well. 
The clergy of the archdeaconry of Bedford expressed the 
general feeling respecting him when they thanked him for 
the good judgment, moderation, and impartiality with which 
he had presided over them ; they refer gladly to his efforts 
to interest the laity in Church matters, and recall his 
*' uniform courtesy and kindness to all," and "the large- 
hearted and noble hospitality extended to clergy and 

The Bishop's utterances were very simple and very 


genuine. To the working folk who were feasted on the 
occasion of St Etheldreda's festival, he said : — 

" I wish you could all have better houses, and each a 
little bit of land. Learn, too, to take care of horses, homes, 
land, yourselves. Do not go after * three days' work and 
four days' drink.* Nothing can give you such a command 
of the market as a command of yourselves " ; and to the 
wives he said, " Be wise ; don't drive the man to the public 

To his clergy he took a wider range. "The Church 
of England has had a great past and has before it a great 
future; this depends largely on the faithfulness of the 
clergy." He lays down the principles on which they should 
work. These must be, faith in God, love to Jesus Christ, 
denial of self, a spirit of union within the Church, zeal for 
the education of our young ones ; the isolation of the 
parochial clergy must be broken down ; women's work 
must be more encouraged. He tells them emphatically how 
he has tried to bring clergy and laity together. " I have 
tried to open the way ; I entreat you, brethren, both of 
clergy and laity, with almost my last words to you as your 
Bishop I charge you, in God's name, that you never let it 
be closed." He takes comfort from the thought that his 
saintly predecessor, Bishop Lancelot Andrewes, who, when 
Bishop of Ely, was one of King James' company of 
translators of the Holy Scriptures, even as he himself had 
been head of the Old Testament company of revisers, 
was also translated to Winchester. Touching is his sad 
phrase, " I am going from a land of peace to a land of 
turmoil and difficulty." At a meeting in St. James's Hall, 
at which he was present, he referred in earnest, almost 
despondent, language to his impressions of Portsmouth, 
whence he had just returned. He spoke of the consterna- 
tion he had felt at sight of that great town, and declared 


that " he would never have left quiet Ely had he realised 
the huge mass of work and difficulties which confronted 
him there." 

The affection and gratitude of the diocese could not be 
hid. All hastened to take part, in one way or another, in 
the various gifts which testified to their regret. His por- 
trait was painted by Watts, and presented to Mrs. Harold 
Browne ; two rings, the one an episcopal sapphire, with 
St. Etheldreda and St. Swithun engraved on it, the other 
a green jasper (or bloodstone), with the arms of the See 
of Winchester impaled with those of the Bishop ; a fine 
epergne, with much other plate, was also given to him ; 
and lastly, above ;^i 100 were subscribed for the establish- 
ment of " Harold Browne Prizes for Pupil Teachers.*' 

The Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge, Dr. Cookson, speaking 
of the loss the University and diocese had sustained by the 
removal of the Bishop, says : — 

" Perhaps, when the history of the English Church in 
this period comes to be written, of all the prelates who 
"have contributed to the infusion of new life and animation 
into its work, and who have done service by their writings, 
example, and episcopal labours, no worthier name will 
appear than that of Bishop Edward Harold Browne." 

No truer utterance as to the effect of the Bishop's years 
of hard work in the diocese of Ely could have been made 
than that in which his close friend and helper Archdeacon 
Emery, comparing the state of the diocese in 1873 ^^^^ ^^s 
state a few years earlier, summed up the matter : — 

" The energy and zeal displayed by the Bishop, and the 
result of these various organisations set on foot by him, 
had made the diocese of Ely. a positive picture of the 
progress of the Church of England during the last ten 


It had been a time of peaceful advance, undisturbed by 
crying questions, free from scandals, full of devoted labours 
for the faith of Christ ; and when the Bishop at last bade 
a most reluctant farewell to his sorrowing flock, it would 
be hard to say which felt the parting most. He carried 
with him from Ely to Winchester the warm God-speed of 
all his friends, and the whole diocese was his friend. 


1874— 1891. 





IT was with no little anxiety that the Bishop of Ely 
decided to move to Winchester. His heart was at 
Ely ; he was among his friends, and near his loved Univer- 
sity; he was not there compared with a prelate of the 
brilliancy and working power of Wilberforce. At first, he 
appears to have meant to refuse it ; but after a while, over- 
borne, as he sometimes was, by the urgency of friends, he 
accepted the offer. His letter to Bishop McDougall, his 
most intimate friend and colleague, shews how great the 
perturbation of his spirit had been : — 

••Rose Castle, August ^h, 1873. 

" My dear Bishop, — This is to me a sad letter. After 
what I said at Ely you will hardly believe that I have 
accepted Winchester. Yet so it is. It has altogether been 
so set before me that I could hardly refuse. Gladstone 
of his own motion suggested a Suffragan, and said that, 
though he refused it for Ely, he would gladly and cheerfully 
sanction it for Winchester. I found I was the only Bishop 
to whom he meant to offer Winton. It would, if I had 
refused, have been given at once to a presbyter. I can hardly 
tell you all that has weighed with me to accept this. I 
fully resolved to refuse it, unless some very objectionable 
arrangement was impending ; but the very strong advice 
given me and pressure put on me have made me yield, 
greatly against my inclination. I shall be a loser in almost 
every way. Personally, I shall be a gainer in nothing ; for 



what some would think a gain, more of courtly society and 
parliamentary position, is to me an insufferable nuisance. 
I have prayed earnestly to be guided rightly, and, with 
innumerable reasons against it, I have thought the reasons 
why I should accept are the stronger. 

" I cannot tell you how much I shall regret my friends 
at Ely and in the diocese, many of whom I love most 
affectionately. You and yours are among those I value 
most, and shall miss most. I wish I could take my four 
Archdeacons with me. There is no diocese so officered, 
I am convinced. It is, however, some satisfaction that I 
have been able to leave two of my Archdeacons' families 
fairly provided for." 

Bishop McDougall appears to have replied, suggesting 
that, if possible he would like to follow his friend into 
the new field of work. For, in a letter in answer dated 
August 19th, Bishop Harold Browne says: — 

" It would be most agreeable to me to carry you and 
Mrs. McDougall with us to my future diocese ; and certainly 
the thought had crossed my mind. I never thought^ 
however, that it would cross yours. And indeed the 
difficulties seem very great. I imagine you would excel- 
lently supply my deficiencies in some points ; especially, 
you would make a good Sea King, whereas I abhor the 
sea. I may be Bishop of the See, you might be Bishop 
of the Seas. But the difficulties are considerable. It is 
doubtful whether I could ever find a berth for you so 
profitable as you have now. There might be some 
jealousies about my bringing a man into high position 
from my old diocese. It would be almost easier to bring 
a man from elsewhere. Then comes the question of health. 
The population of Winton is three times that of Ely, the 
confirmations ought to be double at least My time would 
be so occupied that I must give more confirmations to 
my coadjutor than I could take myself, and I could not 
bear to see you killing yourself by confirming. Then you 
have those bronchitic attacks to which you are so subject, 
especially at the confirmation season. These and other 
thoughts have seemed to me to make a transference, ^^ch 
would be most pleasant to me, full of difficulties. But 


believe me, whatever happens I shall always cherish the 
most affectionate regard for you and yours, and shall be 
" Your ever attached brother, 

" E. H. Ely." 

The Bishop also tried to get for Bishop McDougall the 
Canonry at Winchester then vacant, which had fallen to 
the Crown, and wrote to him to that effect. 

To this Bishop McDougall replied, setting out his doubts 
and fears about the move (September 12th, 1873). He 
would lose in income ; he thinks he would not be efficient ; 
he is no Londoner (as people might well have said when 
they saw him in full episcopal dress strolling down Regent 
Street with a short pipe in his mouth I) ; he is no good at 
dinners, public meetings, and the like ; he is bronchitic and 
unfit for night duty of any kind, though his health is 
better ; yet, after all, he would like it, if he could but see 
his way ; he would love nothing better than to continue to 
be the Bishop's helper ; and he would rub up his French 
again, and qualify for the Channel Islanders. He adds that 
in the new diocese the travelling expenses would be heavy, 
and he would have to put down horses and carriage. 
Directly on receipt of this, the Bishop set himself to smooth 
the way. It would be a warmer climate ; the confirma- 
tions, etc., might be so arranged that he himself, being 
usually stronger in cold weather, might take those in 
spring, and Bishop McDougall the summer ones ; he 
would relieve him of almost all Lx>ndon work. Then, as 
to money matters, the expenses of travelling should cost 
him nothing ; " though," he adds, " I fear I could provide 
no actual income, as I shall be nearly ;f 800 a year poorer 
than at Ely. There is a mortgage on the house, and other 
outgoings, of which I did not know." 

The serious loss of income mentioned above was only 
temporary, for within eighteen months Bishop Sumner 


died. The way was also made easy by the consideration 
of the Prime Minister, who offered Bishop McDougall the 
vacant Canonry at Winchester ; and so the two friends, 
after all, were not severed. 

It is in connection with this negotiation that we hear 
the Bishop's views as to the subdivision of work in his 
huge diocese. It is clear that he was very jealous of any 
attempt to minish aught from the dignity and importance 
of the See of Winchester. Certain influential Surrey men 
had been at him at once. 

"They have lately impressed me, or tried to impress 
me, that a bishopric of South London cannot be, as it 
would take that poor and needy population away from 
the rich population of the country parts of Surrey. They 
maintain that a bishopric of Surrey might be formed, but 
at 'great expense, and prefer on the whole, at least for a 
time, the notion of two coadjutor Bishops, one to throw 
himself greatly into South London, the other for the 
Islands, and south of Hampshire." 

During these days the Bishop received innumerable 
letters of regret from Ely, of hope and encouragement 
from Hampshire. One from Charles Kingsley, then Rector 
of Eversley, contains a phrase which shews that he appre- 
ciated the kind of Bishop who was coming. 

" I welcome you," he writes, " with the hope that you 
will be able — willing J-you will be — to keep the balance 
even between extreme parties, and win the respect and 
affection of the good men (and there are many amongst 
us) of both." 

There is also an affectionate note from Archbishop Tait, 
warning him earnestly against trying to carry on both 
dioceses together, lest he should break down in the attempt ; 
he ought to clear entirely out of Ely before settling down 
to rule over Winchester. 


And his loving friends at Cambridge, though they were 
very sorry to lose him, could still pluck up heart to make 
an epigram or two, turning on his uneasy position between 
the two Sees. 

"Dear Mrs. Browne,— On my return to Cambridge 
I put the matter into the hands of * Our Poet,' and you see 
the result! Poor fellow! You will not be surprised to 
hear that he * now doth crazy go.' It was the last effort 
of his waning reason. 

" Yours very sincerely, 


"Trinity College, August nth, 1873." 


" Tossed to and fro, all vainly I endeavour 
Forward to steer my bark, or to retreat. 
No marvel this ; for madly rages ever 
The fierce, tempestuous surge, where two Sees meet." 


" Fy, fy, my Lord I can this be so ? 
Your footing, quick, recover ; 
For 'tis a shocking thing to see 
A Bishop halfsees-over." 

Bishop Harold Browne was confirmed in Bow Church 
on October 23rd, 1873, and enthroned at Winchester on 
December i ith, going through the long imposing ceremony, 
and paying the accustomed visit to St. Lawrence' Church 
to toll the bell. An opportunity soon came for him to 
declare the principles on which he hoped to rule over his 
diocese. After the consecration of the enlargement of 
Stoke Church by Guildford, he addressed those who had 
come to meet him, and assured them of his deep sympathy 
with all earnest work. 


" I have always called myself an Evangelical, but I am 
equally ready to call myself a High Churchman ; . . . most 
distinctly an Evangelical, and most distinctly a High 
Churchman. I believe very thoroughly in both." And, 
as he remarked long after, in 1889, " I can find no party- 
name by which to call myself" 

He also defined his position as between the Roman 
Church on the one hand and Nonconformity on the other, 
speaking in a kind and gentle tone of both, and declaring 
his firm faith in the " principles of the Primitive Church 
and the Reformed Church of England " ; and he ended by 
appealing to them to find out the ninety-nine points of 
agreement rather than the one of variance ; and to accept 
him on these terms as " Bishop of the Church, not a Bishop 
of a party." 

He aimed from the outset at a subdivision of work 
rather than at a reconstruction of his diocese, and dis- 
couraged, without definite opposition, the schemes put 
forth from time to time, whether for a bishopric of South 
London or for the separation of the Channel Islands from 
the See. And, meanwhile, he took such steps as seemed 
to him wise for the better distribution of the duties. For 
the northern portion of the diocese he obtained the ready 
and efficient help of Archdeacon Utterton, who was con- 
secrated Suffragan Bishop of Guildford on March 15th, 
1874. At the same time he placed Bishop McDougall as an 
assistant Bishop in the southern part of the diocese, specially 
to look after the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands. 

The great growth of episcopal work, the higher sense of 
duty, and the feeling that a Bishop ought to make himself 
felt throughout his diocese, and to be ready to take part in 
every kind of Church work, have taxed the strength of 
the episcopate of modern times. As the vigour of the 
Church increases, it is seen that nothing is so valuable 


as an active Bishop. There is a vast future before the 
episcopate, if it will read the sign of the times, and truly 
guide and befriend the people, — the main duty of the 
Church. If the Church can win the confidence of the wage- 
earners of England, direct their advance, and inspire them 
-with new and higher aims, establishment or disestablish- 
ment will become a minor affair, a matter of conveniencie 
or inconvenience, devoid of any essential character. 

A little incident in the summer of 1874 illustrates clearly 
Bishop Harold Browne's profound belief in the authority 
and dignity of the episcopal office. In the Public Worship 
Bill of that year there was a clause allowing an appeal to 
the Archbishop, in case a Bishop decided to place his veto 
on proceedings under the Act The Bishop of Winchester 
saw in it an infringement of the episcopal authority ; and 
led the opposition to the clause in a spirited speech, which 
-carried the House of Lords with him. The clause was 
thrown out. A letter from him to Bishop Magee of 
Peterborough shews how he regarded it, with exaggeration 
no doubt, yet in the main correctly. It would have been 
fatal to the authority and influence of a Bishop if, after 
he had forbidden proceedings against one of his clergy, 
the Archbishop of his province could interfere and compel 
him to allow an action to proceed. 

" I hope you will do all you can against the clause. . . . 
The whole Bill does much to diminish the condition of 
Bishops. This clause strikes at the root of Episcopacy. 
It brings the Archbishop into the Bishop's diocese. The* 
Archbishop of Canterbury cares for nothing but to pass 
the Bill, quocumque modo — * Si possis, recte ; si non, 
quocumque modo, rem.' The effect of this clause is in 
the direction of absorbing the episcopate (a divine institu- 
tion) in the archiepiscopate (which is a human institution). 
I am sure that disestablishment will follow, and I think 
on good ground that Gladstone is quite ready to go in for 
it in the event of this clause becoming law." 


And later on (August loth, 1874) he writes again to 
Bishop Magee : — 

"I confess that this triple alliance between the Arch- 
bishop, the Prime Minister, and Vernon Harcourt seems to 
me the most ominous conjuncture against the Church. . . . 
I for one would much sooner pass the Red Sea of dis- 
establishment, and wander for forty years in the wilderness 
with the Cloud of Glory guiding us." 

This the Bishop writes from Guernsey after a bad 
passage ; his equilibrium must have been not a little upset 
before he could have attributed such fearful consequences 
to a comparatively unimportant clause in the Bill. ** We 
had a rough voyage," he adds, "and have to leave for 
Jersey at the end of the week. The islands are very 
beautiful, but stormy as * vex't Bermoothes.' " The Bishop 
always shrank from the sea, and disliked even to stay at 
seaside places, within sight and hearing of the waves. 

During this visit to the Islands Bishop Sumner died, 
and the important question as to the future home of the 
Bishop of Winchester came up. On the one side was the 
splendour of a palatial house, one of the finest in South 
England, and the ancient historic connection between 
Farnham and the See of Winchester. On the other side 
was the enormous and altogether disproportionate cost of 
living in so large a place. Bishop Harold Browne once 
told me that it cost him all his official income to keep up 
the Castle ; so that for the heavy outgoings of the diocese 
he had to depend on his private resources, and was con- 
sequently always tempted to impoverish himself Added 
to this was the evil of lifting up the Bishop almost to the 
position of a temporal prince, which could only confirm the 
widespread notion that the State Church was an upper- 
class affair, hung as an ornamental appendage on the 


show side of society. This view of it seems never to 
have affected the Bishop. With all his personal simplicity 
and humility, he still believed that a Bishop's magnificence 
was important, and that if his official dignity were lowered 
the stability of the Established Church would somehow 
be endangered. He also felt that the greater income of 
his See was given him specially to keep up this grandeur, 
which from time to time brought him into contact with 
the highest in the realm. He went at once, on Bishop 
Sumner's death, to see the Castle. 

" I have just been to Farnham," he writes on September 
19th, 1874. "The house is much worse than Ely in every- 
thing but the hall. It would be no more trouble or expense 
than Ely, except for its long passages, staircases, and 
boundless roof The garden is rather troublesome, though 
very pretty, and the park beautiful. It ought to keep 

The sanguine tone of this note shews that from the 
outset the Bishop looked on Farnham with favour. The 
house, as a fact, was far more costly than the Ely palace ; 
and as for the park keeping itself, this was a mere delusion. 
Anyhow, he decided at once in favour of living at Farnham, 
especially as he thought his way was clear, both to a larger 
income, and also to the sale of Winchester House in 
London, which would relieve him of some outlay. The 
Archbishop of Canterbury wrote at once to express his 
pleasure at the decision : — 

" I am glad to hear that you have decided to keep 
F^arnham. I am sure it is an evil to break the old ties of 
association, which are a help to all of us in our work." 

The Bishop had consulted him about Winchester House, 
and his reply was : — 

" No objection can be raised against your plan of aiding 
the foundation of a new diocese by the sale of Winchester 



House. To get rid of so large a town-house would 
probably be a benefit to your successors, and I should 
rejoice to see the diocese made more manageable without 
any diminution of the ancient prescriptive importance of 
the See." 

The Bishop's mind turned sometimes towards his Win- 
chester Palace of Wolvesey, a far more central position for 
residence. In 1877 Dr. Ridding, thinking that the place 
would be valuable for school purposes, wished to get posses- 
sion of Bishop Morley's house and the ruins and grounds 
around it. The Bishop consulted Bishop McDougall : — 

"... It is a reason why I should soon learn what is 
necessary to be done to it. If £\fiCO of solid repair and 
;;f SCO of paint and paper would make it right and habitable, 
I should be inclined to venture it. I hardly like to sell it 
A future Bishop might live there. Whether a disestablished 
Bishop could afford to do so I doubt ; and folks now seem 
to count the years of the Establishment" 

What the Bishop thought of Farnham can be seen from 
a letter written to a kinsman in the autumn of 1875, just 
after he had come into possession of it : — 

•* HiGHFIELD, NEAR SOUTHAMPTON, October 9M, 1 875. 

" My dear Philip, — Very many thanks for your kind 
letter and greetings to me in my new home. We are in it ; 
but masons, carpenters, painters, and paperers hold by far 
the greater part of it against us, and will do so for months. 
It is a beautiful old house, with beautiful gjarden and park ; 
but the house is very unequal, patched in many ways. 
I hope I shall have improved it. Among other things, I 
have opened four fine Early English windows, which had 
been blocked up by a dead wall. Unfortunately they are 
in the kitchen. The oldest part of all is the servants' hall. 
That and the keep, which is a grand fortress, are of the age 
of Stephen, built by Bishop Henry de Blois, brother to the 
king. Perhaps the oldest thing of all is a Norman oak 
pillar, which is in a small cupboard or closet, hard to see ; 


but I am told that an oak pillar with a Norman capital is 
very rare indeed. I trust the place is very healthy as well 
as pretty; but I am little there. Like my sister-in-law, 
Harriet, I only go home now and then for change of air. ^ 
Of late, since my return from the North, my work has been 
even harder than ever." 

As he grew older the Bishop felt the burden of Farnham 
pressing very heavily on his shoulders; and when the 
present Dean wrote to him, suggesting (under the circum- 
stances of the shrunken income of the Capitular body) 
that the Deanery should be handed over to the Bishop for 
bis episcopal residence, and the Dean find himself a smaller 
and more manageable house, his reply shewed that, though 
unwilling to face further changes, he saw what would be 
best for the See. 

'* Farnham Castle, January ist, 1884. 

" Your scheme about changing houses is a bold one. I 
dare not answer your question yet I should not like to 
see you removed from your palatial house. I hardly know 
how to make a change in my old age, unless it were to 
retirement ; but I quite think that a future Bishop would 
be richer and more efficient at Winchester ; perhaps future 
Deans might like a smaller house than the Deanery." 

No sooner had the Bishop settled these preliminary 
matters, than he found himself called on to undertake the 
task of helping towards an interesting expansion of the 
Episcopate. The increase of England's responsibilities 
in India by the annexation of two huge territories to the 
imperial crown led Churchmen to think they must bestir 
themselves. A plan was floated for two new bishoprics, 
one, for the North West provinces, at Lahore, and the 
other, for the Burmese country, at Rangoon. Of these 
it was proposed that the Winchester diocese should raise 
the funds for Rangoon ; and the Bishop at once fell in 


With the plan. The moving spirit, to whom the success 
of the proposal was mainly due, was Sir Walter Farquhar. 
There were many different suggestions. Some wanted 
** Chota-Bishops," or little Bishops, natives of the districts, 
to head native Churches, and to. make it clear that 
Christianity was not merely another form of English 
influence. This scheme, highly to their honour, was 
warmly supported by the Committee of the S.P.G., and 
had much to be said in its favour. But the counsels of 
old Indians and others, anxious for a larger scheme, pre- 
vailed. It was decided to raise funds for the endowment 
of two new bishoprics, to be held by Englishmen. The 
Winchester diocese, moved by the ui^ent appeals and 
advice of Mr. Jacob, son of the good old Archdeacon 
of Winchester, a man of great Indian experience and 
unusual vigour and power, undertook to raise ;f 10,000 
in two years, a sum which, with help from other sources, 
would provide a sufficient fund for the endowment of a 
bishopric for Burmah. The diocese of Oxford offered to 
do the same for the other See at Lahore. 

The Bishop began by issuing a memorandum on the 
subject, in which he appealed to the consciences of English- 
men, responsible for the welfare of India. We had shaken 
the faith of the inhabitants of that great peninsula in their 
older religions, and were bound to shew them a better 
way. Even on political grounds it would be wise, if we 
could, to make them Christians ; still more are we bound, on 
religious grounds, to do what we can to give the Gospel 
of Christ to a dependency numbering quite one-fourth of 
the human race. Christian missions are not failures : " If 
it took many centuries to convert Europe, we must not 
expect to convert India in a single century." He says 
that the true step forward would be that of erecting 
missionary bishoprics, which would not be too costly. 


India needs men of high intelligence to evangelise her ; 
good missionary Bishops have ever gathered good men 
round them, as did Selwyn, Mackenzie, Pattison, and 
others. This appeal was followed by public meetings, 
at which the Bishop did his utmost for the scheme, 
sketching also a picture of a development of native 
Bishops, under the English ones, with perhaps as many 
as ten or twelve of them at work in India alone. 

In a year the diocese had raised ;f 7,000 ; the great 
Societies promised ;f7,SOO, and ere long the diocesan 
contribution reached the ;f 10,000 desired. The plan of 
native Bishops was put aside ; a proposal for two Bishops, 
an Englishman for the English, a native of India for the 
Indians, was also suggested, but was rejected as likely to 
emphasise the odious distinction between conqueror and 
conquered. The Church Missionary Society in Tinnevelly 
shewed a wise desire to train the Churches into supporting 
themselves ; they urged that instead of providing endow- 
ments from England for the whole cost of a bishopric, 
native efforts should be encouraged, and life and self- 
devotion elicited among the converts. They suggested that 
j^ 1 0,000 should be handed over to each of the Societies, 
to be invested as permanent funds, the interest of which 
should provide stipends for the two missionary Bishops. 
The other Society was also shy of helping, and seemed, 
in an unfriendly sort of way, to think it impossible for 
one Bishop to care for both the English and the native 
inhabitants of Burmah. On the other hand. Lord 
Salisbury, who was then at the India Office, was very 
friendly and helpful, and undertook to attach the stipend 
of a Government Chaplaincy to the Bishop's salary. Mr. 
Jacob also appealed to Archbishop Tait, who listened to his 
earnest and hopeful statements as well as to Mr. Bullock's 
frigid criticisms, and was not afraid to range himself on 


the side of venture and advance. To Mr. Jacob's sensible 
and weighty arguments the ultimate success of the effort 
was largely due. In the end, the original plan was carried 
out, and the two English dioceses had the privilege of 
creating, out at the far distant edges of the old diocese 
of Calcutta, the two permanent and independent bishoprics 
of Rangoon and Lahore. 



THROUGHOUT all this period Bishop Harold Browne 
took the greatest interest 'in the character, constitution, 
and development of Episcopal Churches. They were to 
him the true allies of the English Church ; he was always 
eager to join hands with the Episcopalians in America or 
in Scotland, in the Eastern Churches or in Scandinavia, 
and especially with the old Catholics of Switzerland and 
Germany. He also, in his pastoral of 1875, on "The 
position and parties of the English Church," while looking 
askance on any general alliance or federation of Christian 
bodies, warmly urged a closer union among the reformed 
Episcopal bodies, 

It was therefore natural that he should take a leading part 
in the affairs of the Anglo-Continental Society, of which 
we have already mentioned the origin. He was, in fact, 
" the life and soul of the Society." He had clearly stated 
his point of view in " Visions of Peace," a letter addressed 
in 1870 to his old and zealous friend, Mr. Higgins. We 
must aim at a Church and a faith orthodox alike and 
comprehensive, "broad without laxity, indifference, unbe- 
lief, or scepticism ; evangelical without sectarianism or 
intolerance; hierarchical without priestcraft or supersti- 
tion " ; in a word, Anglican and Episcopal. He appeals 



to Nonconformists to lay down their arms and come in ; 
he tells the Romanists, in reply to their claims, that they 
are but a sect, and that not a very orthodox one ; he 
invites the Eastern Churches to accept a hearty union. 
In 1870 he held a conference with Archbishop Lycurgus 
of Syra, who visited him at Ely, on the subject of the 
" Filioque " Controversy, and shewed the keenest interest 
in all questions relating to both the Easterns and the old 
Catholics. Whether in Convocation or at Lambeth Con- 
ferences, or in the Old Catholic assemblies at Cologne or 
Bonn, the Bishop was unwearied in trying to smooth away 
difficulties, to remove barriers, to display the English 
Church as a model, to hold out a friendly hand. These 
overtures were well received, though little came of them. 

His hopes as to the Old Catholic movement are summed 
up in a letter written just after his visit to Cologne : — 

"The meeting was deeply interesting. The speakers 
were thoughtful, earnest, eloquent, calm, but determined ; . . . 
all were apparently deeply interested, applauding the 
speakers enttiusiastically. The movement evidently excites 
deep interest. God only knows what the future will be, 
and to what it will lead. It is the greatest effort at reform 
made within the Roman Church since the disruption of 
the sixteenth century, and it may well have our prayers 
and sympathy." 

Head and shoulders above all the others who took part 
in this movement was Dr. von Dollinger, the most learned 
of German theologians, at that time Professor in the 
University of Munich. An eye-witness of the turmoil created 
by the Ultramontane dogmas of the Vatican Council says, in 
1872, that " Dollinger is doing his utmost to restrain those 
who would make it a mere party and semi-political movement, 
and he will accept no party-position which he is not forced 
by his opponents to assume." 


With Dr. von DoUinger our Bishop was very friendly, 
for he recognised in the great Church historian a kindred 
spirit During this period he took his holidays in Germany 
or Switzerland, because he hoped there to help on the 
movement In 1872 he had been to Grindelwald, to Bern, 
and eventually to the Conference of Old Catholics at 
Cologne : the Old Catholics seemed likely to enter into 
relationship with both the Anglo-Continental Society and 
another Reform Society which represented the movement 
in favour of independent unity in England and among the 
Greek Churches. 

They also, it is interesting to note, suggested that "it 
may be important," as Dr. Lewis Hogg writes, " to include 
in such a committee (of united Churches) some eminent 
Irish Churchmen, e,g,^ Professor Salmon and others, and 
also some Scotch Churchmen, to show to German Old 
Catholics and others that Anglican ideas of unity are 
quite unaffected by * establishment ' or * disestablishment.' " 
At this same time the Bishop had lately received a visit 
from Pfcre Hyacinthe, who was very anxious for the 
appointment of an organising clergyman of the English 
Church to help his struggling young community in Paris. 

The Bishop spent his first holiday, after coming to 
Winchester, paying a visit to the Bonn Conference, in 
which he was most deeply interested. After one session of 
it he writes from Cologne (September 14th, 1874): — 

*' I have just returned from Bonn, where we have had 
a very successful day. Dollinger was very wise and con- 
ciliatory. The English and Americans were good enough 
to say that my help was of great importance, and that I 
had succeeded in getting through difficulties which would 
have been insuperable without me ; so that I feel thankful 
to have been there." 

A letter from our Bishop to the Bishop of Melbourne 


well expresses his feelings as to the Conference after his 
return : — 

'' October <)tk, 1874. 

"Dollinger and the great body of Old Catholics have 
no greater difference of theological opinions from an old- 
fashioned and moderate English Churchman than such an 
English Churchman would discover between himself and 
the adherents of the three extreme parties at present exist- 
ing in England. I call myself an old-fashioned English 
Churchman, and I find more to repel me in any one of the 
extreme schools in England than I do in anything I have 
seen or heard in the Old Catholics. Now, I do not wish to 
expel from my own communion any of the adherents of the 
three schools within it. The Church ought to hold them 
all, or it will become a sect. A fortiori, I would gladly 
welcome to Christian brotherhood men so much to be loved 
and honoured as Dollinger, and those who have escaped 
from errors for which, I fear, some within our own body 
have too much sympathy." 

During this visit to Germany the Bishop heard of the 
alarming illness of his brother, Captain Harrington Browne, 
at Winchester House, in town. This hastened his return, 
much to his regret, before the Congfress was over; he 
hurried home, full of affectionate anxiety, and had the 
comfort of ministering to his brother in his last hours. 

Though he was unable to be at Bonn the next year, he 
was heartily with the German Conservative reformers in 
spirit. As he could not be present, he addressed a long 
letter to Dr. Dollinger on the subjects to be discussed in 
1875. In 1874 the Old Catholics had declared— 

" That the way in which the * Filioque ' was inserted into 
the Nicene Creed was illegal ; and that, with a view to 
unity, it was much to be desired that the whole Church 
should consider seriously whether the Creed could not be 
safely restored to its primitive form, without the sacrifice 
of any true doctrine conveyed under the present Western 
form of words." 


Their desire was to find a possible middle formula, 
between the incomplete Greek, "proceeding from the 
Father," and the doubtful Latin, "proceeding from the 
Father and the Son." The Latin form demands some 
limitation, lest it should tend towards " bitheism " or even 
" tritheism " ; on the other hand, Scripture is quite clear 
that the Divine Son did send the Holy Spirit ; and, in 
fact, the "Double Procession" is scriptural. 

In his letter Bishop Harold Browne treats the subject 
with his accustomed clearness. Writing from Winchester 
House on August 3rd, 1875, he says : — 

" I believe that the Old Catholics and the Anglican 
Church fully concede to the Eastern orthodox Church that 
the * Filioque ' ought not to have been added without the 
consent of a General Council. We admit, also, that the 
doctrine as expressed in the creed of Constantinople, in 
the words 'E« tov IIaT/309 eKiropevofievov^ * a Patre procedens,' 
is in itself orthodox and true. Moreover, we maintain the 
doctrine of the Mopapxia ; holding as firmly as the Greeks 
that there is but one Ahia, 'ApxVy or Hfjy^y one * Fons 
Deitatis,' viz., the Eternal Father. We Anglicans are 
willing to make any declaration to this effect which may 
be satisfactory to the Easterns ; yet we say that there is 
a true sense in which the Greeks as well as the Latins 
spoke of the Spirit as e/c tov IlaTpb^ xal tov Tiov {Epiph, 
Hcer. 72. 4), or irap afKporipKov {Hcer. 74. 8), or ef afKpoiv 
(jCyril de Ador,^ Lib. i., opp. i. 9). We therefore do not 
see how it can be wrong so to speak, though we admit 
that the 'Filioque' was an unjustifiable addition to a 
Catholic symbol without Catholic consent. 

" The difference between us is one of words, not of 
truth ; for we believe the Son and the Spirit to have derived 
Being from all eternity from the One God the Father, and 
to be One God with Him ; but we say the Father is first, 
the Son second, and the Holy Spirit third, and so that the 
Spirit is from the Father, but also of the Son. The subject 
is abstruse and mysterious. Both the Greeks and the 
Latins held important truth concerning it, apparently 
diverse but really reconcilable." 


The Bishop then considers the subject of Anglican 
orders, and the question as to the sacramental character 
of ordination, well explaining the position, and ending 
thus : — 

" We do not think that either the Old Catholics or the 
Greeks will consider our orders to be invalid because we 
have been excommunicated by the Roman Patriarch, and 
so are not in union with the centre of faith and fountain of 
order. We deny that our branch of Christ's Church was 
originally a part of the Roman Patriarchate, maintaining 
that it was originally autocephalous, and if not a Patri- 
archate under the Patriarch of Canterbury, of which there 
is some evidence, yet at least an Exarchate, and that we 
had a right to return to our independence and to throw off 
the usurped supremacy of Rome. But, moreover, when 
Parker was consecrated the Pope had not yet excommuni- 
cated us. It is true the Pope did not give his consent to 
Parker's consecration, nor send him the pallium ; but we 
deny that this was necessary to make that consecration 

He lastly touches on the Invocation of Saints, giving 
the reasons why the English Church does not hold the 
doctrine or encourage the practice. There is no authority 
for it in Scripture, or in the earliest ages, or in the pages 
of the early Fathers. When it first crept in by corruption 
it was strongly condemned by St. Augustine and others. 
There is no authority for it in the first six General Coimcils : 
the seventh (a council of less weight) gives it some sanction ; 
but it was not generally acknowledged, and its decrees on 
this point are repudiated by the great Council of Frankfort 
under Charles the Great. " We think then that, if we err 
in this, we err with Holy Scripture, with the earliest 
Greek and Latin Fathers, and with the primitive Councils 
of the Church. Errare possumus, hceretid esse nolumusP 

As a result of these discussions, the Old Catholics 
accepted the dogmatic statements of St John Damascene 


on the " Procession," and offered them as a safe ground of 
union to both the Greek and English Churches. At the 
close of the debate Dr. von DolHnger said that the Con- 
ference had attained to a union far beyond his utmost 
hopes, and that on the " Procession " they were all really 
at one. The Greeks present, headed by Archbishop 
Lycurgus, were satisfied, and convinced that the Greek 
Synods would receive the result gladly, and that thus " the 
rent robe of Christ be made one again in the One Catholic 
Church." Archbishop Lycurgus seemed to be the means 
appointed by Providence for this reunion, thanks to his 
breadth of vision, his Western education, his Eastern dignity, 
his force of character. But all in vain. Soon after this 
he died, and things in the East dropped back into their 
wonted apathy. Nor did much result from it in England. 
Though Committees of the Southern Convocation sat on 
the clause, the fear of disturbing the Creed was in itself 
enough to arrest all action; the formula commended by 
our Bishop was never adopted by Convocation ; the whole 
question as to intercommunion with the Greek and Russian 
Churches remained where it was. The next spring, under 
the Bishop's eye, the Anglo-Continental Society drew up 
and sent to Dr. Dollinger an address of sympathy with the 
Old Catholics, and of thankfulness for the results of the 
Conference of 1875 : it was signed by twenty-seven Anglican 
Bishops, and by many clergy and laity of note. In the 
same month in which this address was presented, September 
1876, Bishop Reinkens, the Old Catholic Bishop of 
Germany, consecrated Dr. Edouard Herzog first Bishop 
of the " Swiss Christian Catholic Church," and the Bishop 
of Winchester was glad, and sent friendly greetings. Two 
years later these two Bishops paid Famham Castle a visit, 
and an informal Conference was held, at which several 
American Bishops, several English, the Scottish Primus, 


and M. Loyson, the celebrated Father Hyacinthe, were 
present, and expressed their warm goodwill towards the 
movement in Germany and Switzerland, "rather by way 
of brotherly sympathy than of ecclesiastical interference," 
The Conference agreed to support two theological students 
at Bern, and to raise a special fund to help Father 
Hyacinthe in his efforts for a reformed Catholic Church in 
France. Discussion also took place on the movement in 
America and Mexico, and the Conference broke up with 
a feeling of hope and solid advance. " Even yet," said the 
Bishop, "the Church of England, putting one hand on 
Roman Catholics and the other on Protestants, might say, 
* Sirs, ye are brethren : cannot you in some way unite 
together?*" His affectionate appeals as yet have met 
with but scant response. 

On the occasion of another visit of the two Old Catholic 
Bishops, the Bishop of Winchester met them at Cambridge, 
and carried them back with him to Famham. Dr. Dollinger, 
then eighty-two, was too infirm to come. At Cambridge 
the Bishop spoke at some length on the " slow and cautious 
reformation " going on la Germany and Switzerland, and 
also preached on " The faith once delivered to the saints," 
on the organisation of the Christian Church, and the 
Roman claims. At Cambridge and Famham the Old 
Catholic Bishops received the Holy Communion in the 
English form, and shewed their practical belief in the 
unity of the Churches. 

Dr. von Dollinger*s death was a very serious blow to all 
friends of Anglo-Continental reunion. He had guided 
the Old Catholics with so much sagacity and prudence that 
the present Bishop of Salisbury could say that " they have 
not made a single false step." The worst of it is that such 
wisdom and guidance are not the only qualities needed 
for an aggressive movement. The Old Catholic reform is 


slow-moving, cautious, conservative ; it neither dies out, 
nor does it win the enthusiastic support necessary to secure 
a vigorous advance. Let us hope, with Father Hyacinthe, 

" This reformation, as far removed from religious 
anarchy, too often the outcome of Protestantism, as from 
ecclesiastical despotism, the mark of Rome, a movement 
more modest, yet more sure, than that of the sixteenth 
century, is preparing for the twentieth century a platform 
on which shall yet be seen the reconciliation of liberty 
with authority, of tradition with progress, of reason with 

Again in 1888 the Anglo-Continental Society was 
received at Farnham ; the Archbishop of Dublin, the 
Bishop of Western New York, the Bishops of Guiana and 
Pretoria, Bishop Herzog, Mar Gregorius the Syrian, 
Count Enrico di Campello, the Italian reformer, Seflor 
Cabrera from Spain, a pastor from the Church of Utrecht, and 
another from Austria, with many English clergy and laity, 
were present Just before this meeting, the Bishop had 
spoken despondingly about English Church feeling on the 
subject of the reunion of .self-reforming Churches. 

" Nothing," he writes, " of late has made me so sad and 
so little hopeful as to the spirit and progress of English 
Churchmen in the latter part of this eventful century as 
the narrow tone and temper displayed for some weeks 
past When you and I [he is writing to Prebendary 
Meyrick], Bishop Christopher Wordsworth, Bishop Whit- 
ingham. Canon Liddon, etc., went to the Old Catholic 
Congress at Cologne and Bonn, the majority of High 
Churchmen writers hailed these gatherings as full of hope 
for the re-union of Christendom and of Catholic reform in 
Continental Churches. Now all similar, or rather identical, 
moves are clamoured against as schismatical interference 
with such Churches, and that by men who ought to know 
better. It is not a little trying that the name of Bishop 
Wordsworth should be brought up against us ; whereas 


he and I were on these questions always at one, only that, 
if anything, he always took the more advanced position, 
more fierce against Ultramontanism, urging on the Old 
Catholics more strongly to break with the Church of 

It is curious to notice how his centrally balanced mind 
was affected by this strong lurch of the High Church sen- 
timent and practice towards Rome. 

"I very much share your feeling," he writes in 1891, 
" about the general action of High Churchmen. A reaction 
to Evangelicalism is not unlikely, and if it tends to redress 
the balance, without leading to sectarianism, I shall not 
regret it, />., if I live to see it." 

At this time the Bishop had been very active in the 
Lambeth Conference on behalf of reunion. 

** I advocated warmly," he says, " the reception of the 
Swedish Church to communion with us, though it wants 
entirely one of the three orders of the ministry, and has 
the other two very imperfectly ; and I virtually carried my 
point, hoping that the Swedish Church would rise to greater 
Catholicity, as I should hope the Italians and Spaniards 
will become more Protestant." 

He also moved for and obtained a committee of this 
Conference to study and report on the complicated and 
interesting subject of Moravian orders, with a view to 
definite and visible intercommunion with them. With his 
jealous regard for the apostolical character of the succession, 
the Bishop would naturally hold back from committing 
himself. All his sympathies and wishes would be strong 
for such intercommunion, but his habitual caution was 
such, and the difficulty of proving historically the Moravian 
succession so great, that he could only stand aloof, the 
better instincts neutralised by the theological theories. 
His ideal was that of "an intercommunion of national 


Churches, all independent and self-governed, all free to 
retain their distinctive forms and usages" under certain 
marked conditions — those of accepting Holy Scripture, 
the Apostles* and Nicene Creeds, the doctrines of the two 
Sacraments, and the historic Episcopate. His action was 
limited, as we see too in Cardinal Newman's case, by 
trammels imposed on himself; while, on the other hand, it 
was modified by the impulses of a loving and liberal 
nature. Rome lays down, as a preliminary for acceptance, 
her own infallibility and authority, and there is an end of 
it with her. The Eastern Churches hold stiffly to their for- 
mularies, and if (as in the case of the "Double Procession") we 
do not accept every item, again there is an end of it There 
is no "give and take" with these venerable Churches. The 
Anglicans assert their scriptural convictions, as to the Creeds 
and the Apostolical Succession, and hold out a friendly 
hand, to all Episcopalian bodies. As yet, outside the limits 
of the English-speaking world, little result has followed. 
The Anglican position is not an easy one. The old 
historic Churches look on coldly : "If you will surrender, 
we shall be delighted to invite you," is their posture ; the 
lesser Episcopal Churches would be glad of friendship 
and brotherly recognition ; but the Anglican mind sees 
difficulties ; their orders are of doubtful origin, or (as with 
the Christians of St. Thomas in India) their views are 
suspected of heresy, or there is some other block ; con- 
sequently, little advance is made with them. The whole 
theory of the non-episcopal bodies is different from ours ; 
they feel that we look down on them, socially and reli- 
giously ; they cling all the closer to their Bibles and their 
independence. And so the rifts are not closed up ; and 
the Reunion of Christendom being apparently as far off 
as ever, one can see signs of a longing in some minds for 
surrender to the high pretensions of the Roman Church, 



and in others a desire to have done with the whole matter, 
and to turn all the energies of modem Christian faith and 
life into purely social channels. Yet, as the Archbishop 
of York said, when presiding over the meeting of the 
Anglo-Continental Society in 1893 "in the place of the 
most learned and popular and most beloved of men, Bishop 
Harold Browne *' :— 

"We must not look for striking results or triumphant 
statistics. We must influence religious life abroad, and 
try to bring Churches nearer to each other, and to get 
them on one platform of evangelic zeal and truth and of 
a common apostolic order." 

All earnest men, who combine charity with faith and 
hope, dream of some golden future, in which whole bodies 
of men will distinguish between things important and 
things trivial, and will realise, far more than now we do, 
the vast importance of the points on which we agree. At 
present there is but little daylight showing above the 
dark horizon of the Churches. 

Who shall venture to say that Christians will ever here 
be able to attain to unity ? Not through the Imperialist 
claims of Rome, who deems herself the inheritor of the 
Caesars ; not through the rigid orthodoxy of the Greek 
Churches, an imperialism of another type ; nor through 
a federation of aristocratic Churches to which the Christian 
democracy will not bow ; nor through the indistinct claims 
of a spiritual and inner unity, which deems the personal 
illumination, the personal faith in Christ, the only bond 
of union ; for the organised Churches refuse to be content 
with so subjective and unprovable a test. It is the 
insoluble problem of Christianity. The Master foresaw 
this when He warned His disciples that He was to bring 
*' not peace but a sword " ; He also laid down the simplest 
possible basis of union when He proclaimed that " wherever 


two or three are gathered together in My name, there am 
I in the midst of them." This is the unit from which 
the whole Church life of Christianity must advance. There 
must be a new spiritual outpouring, such as has never 
been, ere we can hope for the blessing of a Reunion of 

If ever a federation of Churches across the world does 
take place, it will largely be due to the seed so prayerfully 
sown by Bishop Harold Browne. Such a result seems 
very far away; and yet, in spite of many disruptive 
influences, there is the same Christ, and the same love 
for the souls of men, and the same desire to see in truth 
the Kingdom of God established among men. And when 
it comes to this, then will the end be nigh. 



BISHOP HAROLD BROWNE had come to Win- 
chester with anxiety and forebodings. Writing from 
Andover in May 1874 he says : — 

"I think I have worked this year almost as hard as 
Bishop Wilberforce would have done ; only I am not 
good at society at the same time. Certainly I have 
given notice of twice as many Confirmations as he did in 
his first year in this diocese ; and I have worked often 
when I ought to have been in bed ; and yet I hear that 
clergymen grumble at my not doing all they want They 
make no allowance for the difficulties of a man unknown 
to and unknowing a diocese. But I suppose I ought not 
to care for their unreasonableness." 

Churchmen seemed to him far harder to control and 
lead here than at Ely. The problems of town-life were 
far more urgent; and with less learning there was more 
difference of character. "There is more diversity of 
opinion and variance here than at Ely," he cries, soon after 
he entered on his new duties ; the evident presence of 
irritable elements in the diocese filled him with alarm. 
He never shrank from speaking out and letting people 
know what he thought ; but his charitable spirit, which, 
as he said, " loved a moderate harmless diet," was vexed 
within him when men pushed on too fast, and over- 
stepped the bounds of good taste and moderation. 



"Some think," he said at the 1880 Congress, "that a 
parish in Evangelical hands should continue so, in High 
Church hands also ; but I think it might often be desirable 
to have a change, though not an abrupt one. If there 
had been an extreme man, I would try to let the parish 
down gently ; not appointing another extreme man, on 
the other side; because my taste is rather in favour of 
milk, or milk and water, which is better as a rule than 
brandy. Brandy may be a medicine ; milk is a food." 

On the other hand, the unsettled state of opinion in 
different parts of his diocese caused him great uneasiness. 
While in South London there were men crowding all 
sail in the direction of Ritual advance, and shewing not 
obscurely that the elaborate ornaments and new manner 
of conducting services were intended to express extreme 
views as to the Church and Sacraments ; at the other end 
of the diocese, in the far-off Channel Islands, there was an 
opposite tendency. There the old Presbyterian feeling was 
still strong. The Islanders felt that they were very close 
to the borders of Rome, and, like the Irish Protestants, 
leant heavily in the opposite direction. Throughout the 
diocese there seemed to be a feeling of unrest, and perhaps 
of unreason, which troubled him exceedingly. 

At the outset he had an example of the difficulty of 
guiding this diocese in the differences which sprang up 
over the memorial to his predecessor, Bishop Wilberforce. 
The large sum of money collected was broken up, and 
three or four different memorials undertaken; the result 
being much dissatisfaction. The Bishop himself was not 
altogether content with the chief memorial, the Mission 
House to be established in South London, though he 
loyally supported it He had desired the erection of a 
separate See for that district. In June 1874 he remarked 

" He did not say that the proposed memorial was the 


best that could possibly have been devised — there were 
others he would quite as soon have seen ; but it was a 
kind of work which all agreed the late Bishop had much 
at heart." 

The contributions to it at that time had not quite 
reached ;^i i,ooo ; and this was but a small sum with which 
to establish and endow an important institution. The 
Mission House was nevertheless created, and one of Bishop 
Wilberforce's sons (now Bishop of Newcastle) took charge 
of it When, somewhat later, South London, as one of 
the changes due to the establishment of the See of St 
Albans, was transferred to the Bishop of Rochester, this 
Memorial Mission passed away from the Diocese, and 
occupied the Bishop's thoughts no longer. 

As at Ely, the Bishop divided his attention, in hope 
of steadying opinion, between doctrine and organisation. 
For the former, beside advice and information given with- 
out stint to those who applied to him, he issued a very 
weighty Pastoral in 1875; for the latter he meditated a 
structural change of importance, in the direction of more 
direct synodical action in the diocese. 

To Dr. Millard, then Rector of Basingstoke, he wrote 
interesting letters on the baptism of adults, a matter 
which touched the episcopal authority. A notice has to 
be given "by the parents or some other discreet persons " 
to the Bishop before a parish priest can baptise an adult ; 
this gave him an opportunity of stating his views to a 
sympathetic friend. For Dr. Millard was one of the most 
straightforward and right-minded of High Churchmen, 
loyal to his Bishop, and little inclined to new fashions. 

A little later, he writes to Dr. Millard on another 
question of Church order. A Quaker gentleman had been 
duly baptised, and was anxious to be admitted to Holy 
Communion without being confirmed. The Friends, Dr, 


Millard says, " tolerate Baptism and Holy Communion, but 
eject from their body, and from all social advantages of 
belonging to it, any one who is confirmed." He therefore 
appealed to the Bishop for permission to shut his eye to 
the rubric which regards Confirmation as a necessary step 
before Communion ; and the Bishop, while he states that 
he has no power to absolve him from obedience to the 
rubric, says : — 

"If I had the power I should not hesitate to do so 
[absolve him]. But I think you will be right to admit him 
to Holy Communion, taking the widest and most liberal 
interpretation of the words of the Church, which were 
evidently not intended to apply in cases of this kind. 
Summumjus^ summa injuria. We are in a peculiar con- 
dition of things, owing to the wide spread of Nonconformity 
and the readiness of some Nonconformists to return to the 
Church's communion, if the door is not made too strait for 

On the other side, it will be seen from the following 
letter how the Bishop dealt with those who were minded to 
listen too readily to the Roman claims to the obedience 
of mankind, on the ground of the primacy of St. Peter. 
The name of his correspondent is lost ; the letter is 
characteristic of his way of handling such questions. 

" You must not suppose," he writes, " that I admit your 
premises or inferences. To my reason it appears clear as 
the day that the kind of honour bestowed by our blessed 
Lord on St. Peter was as unlike supremacy as can possibly 
be. It is quite true that He singled him out for special 
service, that He entrusted to him more specially than to 
the others the keys of the kingdom, and the founding of 
the Church, and the feeding of His flock, as a shepherd 
feeds a flock. And without doubt St. Peter was the first, 
after the Ascension, to bring in converts to the faith, so 
opening the Kingdom of Heaven and founding [the] Church. 
In this, and this is the true, sense, the power could not be 


handed down to his successors. No one after him could 
be the first unlocker of the Kingdom, the first founder of 
the Church. It was this great privil^e which our Lord 
gave to Peter, viz., to be the first to bring in both Jews 
and Gentiles to the flock of Christ, first at Pentecost, next 
at the conversion of Cornelius ; and this could not descend. 

" I do not say that Peter was not the Rock. I feel with 
St. Augustine that much may be said on both sides ; but 
I deny that those Fathers to whom I referred all spoke 
ambiguously. The earliest, Justin Martyr, is quite clear. 
St Augustine declares that he used to think it meant 
St. Peter, but that he had cause to believe it meant Peter's 
Confession, but that he left the question open. As for his 
ignorance of Syriac, I am afraid that has descended to 
Roman controversialists, for the distinction of the masculine 
and feminine Uer/w)? and irerpd is preserved in the most 
authoritative Syriac document which has come down to us, 
which some think to be the so-called Hebrew original of 
St. Matthew, but which must be the best existing repre- 
sentative of it, viz., the Peschito Syriac, where though the 
Kephah cannot, as in Greek, change its termination, the 
second Kephah has the feminine article, which is as signifi- 
cant as the Greek change of termination. 

" Be this as it may, the Fathers were much divided in 
their interpretation. Strange, if the question be so vital 

" The truth is clear, as the Greek liturgies express it so 
often, viz., that St. Peter was the Kopv^^OAm, so ignorantly 
or dishonestly (I leave you the choice) translated SUPREME, 
and put in capital letters. * Coryphaeus ' means leader of a 
chorus or quire, and speaking for the rest This St Peter 
doubtless was, primus inter pares r 

The Bishop's general attitude can be seen from a weighty 
Pastoral Letter entitled " The Position and Parties of the 
English Church," which he published in 1875. ^" ^"^^ 
document, after stating how he had been disappointed of 
his hope that South London might become an independent 
bishopric, with St Mary Overy (St Saviour's) for the 
Cathedral, he turned to the religious difficulties of the day. 
" On the threshold of a future history full of change in 
Church and State, in politics and religion ... a wave of 


new thought and excited action is passing over the world." 
And he appeals to his clergy to show wisdom, self-control, 
disinterestedness, as befits the pilots and directors of 
religious thought in a troubled sea of change and doubt. 
They should not ride the storm, but pour oil on the 
troubled waters. He then points out that the English 
Reformation, — 

*' NuUius addicta est jurare in verba magistri ; ** 

for it had " no one great master-mind, like Luther or 
Calvin." And so the Reformed Church was the old Church 
with a difference. He then traces the growth of two 
parties, one more strictly episcopal, the other "at least 
sympathising with Presbyterian government ; the one more 
earnest for the Sacraments of the Church, the other for 
the preaching of the Word ; the one, consequently, more 
eager to adorn the sanctuary, the other to find space for 
convenience of the auditory ; the one more careful to 
train the baptised young, the other to convert the grown- 
up sinner ; the one more eager for pastoral work at home, 
the other for missionary enterprise ; the one father of 
nearly all our modem theological literature, the other given 
up chiefly to devotional and practical writing ; the one 
earnest for the corporate life, the other for personal 
religion ; the one looking back to Christian antiquity, and 
tracing thence the one stream of Church life, the other 
looking into its Bible, and finding there the Christianity 
it is seeking for ; the one dwelling much on repentance 
and striving after holiness, the other cheering the sin- 
laden soul with the hopes of pardon purchased by the 
blood of Christ." 

And having thus traced the divergences, he sets him- 
self to show that the unity within the Church is infinitely 
greater than the differences, and appeals for forbearance and 


mutual toleration. He relegates the third or liberal school 
to a footnote, as though he thought their influence on 
English theology and opinion need hardly be considered. 
This done, he speaks of the controverted topics : of the 
Eucharistic Sacrifice and the dress suitable for it ; of 
" Catholic " principles ; of the eastward position : he speaks 
temperately as to the Courts and judgments on these 
subjects, and once more appeals to the heated comba- 
tants to reconsider the position and to moderate their 
passions. Nor is he without good hopes: — 

" From the experience derived from acquaintance with 
two very different dioceses I can say with confidence that 
the great body of the clergy are more sober and moderate 
in their views, and have really more sympathy with one 
another, than in almost any period of our past history — 
certainly than in any period of active life and zeal." 

And he closes the long description by an interesting 
statement of his views as to the possible disestablishment 
of the Church ; a far larger and braver utterance than is 
commonly heard from episcopal lips : — 

" No one would really gain by disestablishment so much 
as a Bishop. If my feelings were only for the aggrandise- 
ment of my order, I should work for disestablishment 
to-morrow. . . . But as I am a loyal subject to my 
sovereign, and as I believe in the liberty of an English 
citizen, I do not wish to see the English Church cease to 
be a part of the English Constitution. I am prepared, 
if Providence so orders it, to accept a Republican Govern- 
ment and a disestablished Church. I think the Church 
politically would then be far stronger than it is now ; but 
I don't think the nation would be happier ; . . . the extreme 
schools who wish for all this would be far less likely to 
find toleration. . . ." 

His fear is that it would narrow the Church, weaken 
the influence of Christian dissent, swell the forces of 


infidelity and indifference. And so, with a last appeal to 
all who name the only " Name under heaven whereby we 
may be saved/* he bids his clergy " not rend the seamless 
coat, nor cast lots on it, whose it shall be. It is the one 
priceless heritage of Christians, and it is held as an un- 
divided whole by the Church of Christ." 

This Pastoral attracted great and general attention. As 
it proposed to leave the Ritualists alone and to discourage 
party strife, it was naturally not too acceptable to the 
fighting newspapers. The Nonconformists were strongly 
opposed to it, the Evangelical Alliance champions resented 
his calling their idea of unity hollow and ineffective. It 
may be also that some of the more advanced of the newer 
school of High Churchmen were in their hearts con- 
temptuous towards an Eirenicon based on an attempt to 
neutralise, or at least to minimise, the doctrinal significancy 
of their symbolic acts in the Holy Communion. They 
were not prepared to say that their elaborate and solemn 
ritual was doctrinally unimportant Though they might 
not be willing to formulate definite statements as to the 
Presence, they were determined that every mark of 
obsequious honour should be paid to the Elements, in 
order that English Churchmen might become familiarised 
with the usages, and so be unconsciously prepared for the 
doctrine underneath. As, however, the Pastoral urged 
tolerance for them, they raised no protest, and accepted 
it so far as it went. On the other hand, most moderate 
Churchmen, and all the old High Church party, received 
the Pastoral with warm approval. The rural deaneries 
in some cases drew up memorials thanking the Bishop 
for his wise and temperate advice ; and these docu- 
ments were signed by men of very varied schools of 

Canon Trevor, a high authority on questions of Church 


order, addressed the Bishop an interesting letter, which 
well deserves to be preserved here : — 

" Beeford Rectory, Hull, December 7,0th, 1875. 

"It is, I believe, perfectly true that no public order was 
ever issued as to the position of the Tables substituted for 
the Altars. They were placed as the Ordinary (or who- 
ever heard them) chose to set them. But I feel some 
surprise at your Lordship's doubt of the fact that they 
always stood length-wise, and that this was what was 
meant by the * table-wise ' position. I never met with 
any hint of a table being placed in the * altar-wise ' 
position, before Laud. It is often supposed that the change 
was made by the rubric of the Second Book ; but in fact 
it was begun in London in the year 1 549, and was justified 
under the rubric of the First Book in the Order of Council. 
November 1550. I have dwelt on this fact in the enlarged 
edition of my book on the Eucharist, as conclusive evidence 
that no doctrinal significance is involved in either position. 
The 'table-gesture' of Hooper and Knox was never 
allowed ; of which Dr. Lorimer has supplied some interest- 
ing proofs in his monograph on John Knox. I rejoice to 
see your Lordship endorsing my protest against doctrinal 
significance. After all, it is the doctrine itself that most 
concerns us, and I have long been convinced that the root 
of all the Ritualistic excesses is the false doctrine of the 
* Objective ' Presence invented by Archdeacon Wilberforce 
in 1848, and since developed into consubstantiation by 
Dr. Pusey and Kcble, and into transubstantiation by their 
less learned disciples. The main object of my book is to 
shew that this is not the doctrine of the Fathers or Anglican 
divines. Indeed, it was not Dr. Pusey's doctrine in his 
letter to the Bishop of London, 1850. He had not then 
discovered the * Objective * theory. This is a bold assertion 
to make, but I have proved it (I think) from a mass of our 
divines, including Andrewes, Bramhall, Laud, etc., etc, 
and from the fathers relied on in the controversy, who are 
given in the originals in the Appendix. This has been 
the labour of my country life, and encountering, as I do, 
the extremes of both sides, I expect the hearty abuse of 
the Church Times and the Rock, The mischief is that we 
have no genuine Anglican Review, unless the new Clturch 
Quarterly supplies it. By the way, its article on the 


Kantian Philosophy ought to dispose of the word ' Objec- 
tive/ which properly means * imaginary ' and non-existent' " 

Sir Robert Phillimore, with his legal sagacity and High 
Church feeling, wished — 

" that all the Bishops had as clear an apprehension of 
the perils to which our Church is now exposed. It is 
surely a very critical period ; and to me the strangest of 
all things is that those in authority should see a safeguard 
gainst division in Acts of Parliament, past, present, and, 
I fear, to come." 

Canon McColl quotes a letter from Mr. Gladstone, in 
which he says, " I am delighted with the Winchester 
Pastoral," and adds that " \ have heard but one opinion 
of it from all shades of * High Churchmanship,* — Machono- 
chie, Lowder, and others." 

And lastly, there is a brief note from Mr. Gladstone 
himself, in which he thanks the Bishop for — 

" that wise and good gift to the Church which you have 
not feared to present, noiseless amid the din of arms. This 
phrase," he adds, "is not unnatural, for I write with the 
blood-red book of the good and well-meaning, but fussy 
and ill-balanced .... in my eye. May your counsels of 
peace be blessed." 

Such was the tone and temper of this Pastoral, which 
won the hearty commendation of all that was most high- 
minded in his diocese. In this spirit he replied to those 
who complained of the use of a manual or " Book of the 
Mission" drawn up by the Cowley Fathers, and brought 
into use at the Southampton "Mission" of 1876. To 
the lay remonstrants, headed by Mr. Hankinson, he 
replied : " I am very sorry that missions . . . should be 
so conducted as to lead to or encourage habitual confession, 
or the system known ^s * direction,* or the system of the 


* enquiry room ' " ; and he points out the wholesome direc- 
tions of the prayer-book on the subject. And the clergy 
he assured, through Mr. Wigram of Highfield, that in 
approving the mission he had no thought of giving 
sanction as Bishop to any system of enforced confession 
or direction. 

" Whatever may be desirable in the case of one unable 
to satisfy his conscience by confessing his sins to God, 
I agree with you in holding that the Church does not 
encourage habitual compulsory sacramental confession to 
man, or the system known under the name of Direction. 
I believe, moreover, that that system is warranted neither 
by Scripture nor by the practice of the Primitive Church." 

A little later he received a remonstrance from certain 
clergy in Portsmouth against language used of the Holy 
Communion. He does not propose to enter into discussion 
or controversy : he desires a large toleration for " all that 
is fairly within the lines of the English Church," and is 
not indifferent to the maintenance of fundamental truth 
or the banishing of serious error. He has by God's 
blessing preserved members of our Church from seceding 
to Rome, has converted Romanist priests, notably a well- 
known Father Felix, to the English Church, and in 
the opposite direction has preserved men from infidelity. 
He then explains minutely and somewhat subtly the 
bearing of a phrase, " Prepare to receive the Lord's Body 
into the palm of your hand." The words, he says, " are 
very objectionable as likely to mislead, and yet they 
do not necessarily imply Transubstantiation, still less the 

* Material Presence' (which is very different from Tran- 
substantiation)." If they did, then our Lord's words, " This 
is my Body," must be taken, as the Romanists take it, as 
Christ's authority for that doctrine. He also condemns 
such a phrase as " a share in the Prayers of the B. V. M, 


and all Thy saints." Still, feeling Portsmouth to be in 
great need of zealous clergy and men willing to work 
amongst the lowest of the population, he is not prepared 
to interfere hastily. 

" On this ground, while I am myself deeply attached 
to the simple ancient faith and practice of the English 
Church, and whilst I greatly deprecate any extravagance 
of Church doctrine or ceremony as calculated to weaken 
the Church and cause prejudice against it, yet I cannot 
wholly check the exertions of men on either side who are 
zealous, even if they are sometimes extravagant, knowing 
that zeal is always in danger of degenerating into 

Soon after this time, in 1877, the Bishop wrote on 
similar subjects to a lady eminent in active good works 
in the slums and courts of London ; she had written to 
him, anxious to see her way in dealing with confession as 
a very important factor in the conversion of sinners. 

" I don't think confession wrong," he writes, " or even 
undesirable, when there is special need for some unrelieved 
weight upon the conscience ; but I am afraid lest the 
habit should weaken the conscience instead of strengthening 
it Confession has been called * the luxury of repentance.' 
... It is possible that some may be so weak as to need 
to be led by the hand. I believe it far better to acquire 
a habit of leaning on the Hand of Jesus and letting Him 
guide us and sustain us. 

"The craving ever for human support and to tell our 
griefs, trials, and temptations to human ears, is, I think, 
morbid, not the healthy condition of the Christian soul. 
To tell them all to the Saviour, receive absolution from 
Him in private and with our brethren in the Church and 
at Holy Communion, — this appears to me healthy and 

Again, ten years later, he addressed a letter to the same 
lady on the Reservation of the Elements in primitive days 


" Farnham Castle, August 7.znd, 1887. 

"My dearest , — Dora gave me a message from 

you about Reservation of the Eucharist. I believe the 
facts to be these : — The first mention of it is by Justin 
Martyr, who simply records that the consecrated Elements 
were carried from the church by the deacons to the sick 
( Apol., p. 98). This was in the middle of the second century. 
Towards the end of that century (if Eusebius reports his 
words rightly), Irenaeus speaks of the Bishop of Rome as 
having sent the Eucharist to the brethren of other Churches 
as a token of brotherly love. We find not long after that 
the consecrated Elements were kept in the house of the 
priest (Eus., vi. 44), and also in private houses, that they 
might be received in case of sudden illness or danger of 
death. That it was not the one Species only that was 
reserved appears from a passage in St. Chrysostom 
(tom. iv., p. 681), where he complains that soldiers broke 
into the church, and the Holy Blood was sprinkled upon 

" One custom of the Eastern Church was * the Mass of 
the Pre-sanctified.' In Lent they did not like to consecrate 
the Elements, except on Saturdays, Sundays, and great 
festivals. The people communicated on other days, so 
the Elements were consecrated on the festivals and kept 
for communion through the week. All this, no doubt, led 
to communion in one kind. It was not easy to send both 
kinds to a distance ; so probably but one kind was sent 
The whole originated in the simple notion of sending the 
Sacrament direct to the sick and absent. The rest grew 
gradually, till it reached, in the Western Church, the re- 
serving of the one Species only, and the communicating 
the laity in that alone. In the Eastern Church the bread 
is still dipped in the chalice, and so both Species are 

Interesting as are these examples of the way in which 
the Bishop worked out his middle path, it is clear that he 
was under no delusion about them, but saw that more was 
necessary than an appeal to reason and antiquity. 

Feeling that there was much restlessness on these sub- 
jects, the Bishop thought at first that matters might be 
smoothed by a conference on Ritual between High Church- 


men and some moderate men, lay and clerical. The Bishop 
of Peterborough and other Bishops warmly supported 
the scheme. It was proposed not to invite the " intransi- 
gentes," the extreme men likely to refuse all compromise,, 
but only those who had the unity of the English Church 
at heart, and were willing to make some sacrifice for 
her sake. It was thought that a " modus vivendi/' on 
lines of moderate Church principles and reasonable 
obedience to episcopal authority, might be secured by 
friendly conference, and the irritating difficulty as to 
allegiance to the lay courts avoided. Bishop Harvey 
Goodwin went so far as to formulate his view of the course 
of action* to be followed. The Ritualists were to produce 
their scheme of Church government, and the Bishops ta 
consider it, using it as a basis for their deliberations, in 
strictly private meetings among themselves. Nothing,, 
however, came of it 

This scheme (in the end of 1876 and beginning of 1877) 
having thus failed, the Bishop had yet another plan to lay 
before his diocese. This time he would not grasp at toa 
much ; but fell back on the episcopal authority, and hoped 
to discover a course by which that authority could be 
brought to bear on the divergent parties, so as to impose 
a light yoke of uniformity on all. 

It seemed to him that the eminent success with which 
he had carried out his diocesan Conferences was really 
almost without practical results. It was quite true, as Mr. 
Lewis M. Owen, the Secretary to the Conferences, wrote 
to Mrs. Harold Browne, that the Bishop's presidency had ' 
been most successful. 

**I feel," he writes on November 8th, 1876, soon after 
the of one of the yearly meetings, " that I must tell 
you what every one has been saying to-day about our 
good Bishop. 



" I have conversed with representative men of all grades 
and shades of opinion, some of them famous for their 
fastidiousness ; and all agree in saying that his skill in 
managing the Conference was something marvellous. I 
have heard nothing but praise and admiration of his 
speeches for their wisdom and good taste, to say nothing 
about the learning which came out in every part of them. 

" The general feeling amongst the lay folk is, — led by such 
a chief as we have we feel ready to do anything for him or 
for the diocese. I travelled homewards with Mr. Cowper 
Temple, who came away simply delighted with his Bishop. 
The Dean describes his conduct of the business as most 
masterly, and other equally good judges agree." 

Yet he still felt that more was needed. 

" There is no Christian Church," he cries, " no Christian 
sect, which is not more closely organised than the Church 
of England. We rest," he adds, " on our connection with 
the State and our parochial system ; the former giving 
us a machinery not all our own, the latter strengthening, 
if isolating, our efforts. And as the Church existed and 
flourished for centuries without either State support or 
parishes, and may at any time again lose both, we must 
organise, by conferences, by ruridecanal meetings, by more 
activity in the Cathedral body (to whom he addressed these 
remarks at his Visitation), and in parishes by the establish- 
ment of parish councils, which will often be found of use, 
both for counsel and for work." 

He had also hit on another plan, that of Diocesan 
Synods, which the Bishop of each diocese should call 
together once a year. And in September 1877 he issued 
the following circular to each of the members of a com- 
mittee of Conference. It will be seen that the point of 
it is the hope of peace to be attained through authorita- 
tive decisions of a Bishop in matters of ritual The 
Bishop was prepared to promulge in a Synod of his 
clergy "the Law of Ritual for the diocese, to continue 
in force till further order be taken by authority higher than 
that of a single Bishop in his Synod." 


The answers to his circular were not encouraging. His 
reply to his friend Mr. John Pares of Southsea shews this 
very clearly (September 12th, 1877) : — 

"I am very much obliged to you for your kind letter 
and all that it says. I am thankful to find that you are 
sanguine. I confess it seems to me that the clouds are very 
dark. I find almost all the laymen unfavourable to the 
Synod. Most of the clergy are for it." 

Chancellor Sumner sent him a very clear view of the 
difficulties surrounding the authority of such a diocesan 
Synod, i. He doubted the sanction for it ; it is not in the 
Canons. 2. Custom and use fail entirely. 3. The Prayer 
Book nowhere seems to point to it ; on the contrary, the 
Bishop is to resolve doubts, and, if necessary, he must 
appeal to the Archbishop. 4. What would be the pro- 
cedure? Discussion ? resolutions ? and decisions? If so, 
who shall guarantee their soundness? if not, why the 
assembly? The Bishop's dicta would really derive their 
weight from his character and office, not from the fact of 
their promulgation in Synod. 5. If a code of laws or ritual 
were laid down in Synod, it might easily clash with the 
Act of Uniformity. 6. The appeal from the Bishop's ruling 
would be illusory. 7. Different dioceses would lay down 
different codes, and there would be many "uses." This 
would be an unwholesome and dangerous state of things. 
He ends by urging that, considering the difficulties, dangers, 
and even the positive evils likely to arise from such 
synodical action, the Bishop should pause before trying 
it A still higher authority. Lord Selborne, entered at 
great length into the subject, in two letters, which are so 
weighty that they are here given as the view of the legal 
mind when most friendly to the Church. 

On September 8th, 1877, he says : — 

"The judicial supremacy of the Crown is really the 


keystone of the existing settlement between Church and 
State ; and I cannot doubt it is an essential part of the 
idea of the Royal Supremacy, not only as embodied in 
the statutes of the Reformation epoch, but as affirmed in 
the Canons and the Thirty-Nine Articles. To deny or 
resist it is ipso facto to commence the work of disestablish- 
ment ; and it seems to me that the principle of the scruple 
in question is essentially at variance with it. How these 
scruples could be met by a ruling ex cathedra of the Bishop 
in a Diocesan Synod, unless that ruling proceeded on the 
assumption that without it the decisions of the Queen's Court 
of Appeal were not binding on the consciences of the clergy, 
but might be made so by it, I do not at present see. But a 
ruling, proceeding on that assumption, would appear to me 
to be full of danger. It is, I conceive, quite certain that, 
in a legal point of view, such a ruling could have no force 
whatever, and would add nothing to the obligation which 
the law considers to be laid on the clergy without it Nor 
do I see how it could add anything to the pre-existing 
obligation in foro conscientice, unless the Bishop (if he 
differed from the Court of Appeal in his own private 
opinion) would be equally at liberty to lay down the law 
otherwise ; in which case I, for one, should certainly be 
unable to admit that such a ruling would be, either legally 
or morally, binding. 

" It is, of course, possible that you may have in view 
some mode of proceeding which would avoid these diffi- 
culties ; e^., to declare, in Diocesan Synod, not merely 
that the Bishop, ex cathedra, pronounced the law as laid 
down by the Judicial Committee to be binding upon his 
clergy, but also that he does so upon a principle which 
recognises the jurisdiction and authority of the Queen's 
supreme Court of Appeal in ecclesiastical causes. If this 
could be done, and if it would answer the intended purpose, 
my apprehensions would be obviated. 

" There can be no doubt that, according to the decisions 
of the Judicial Committee in the Purchas and Ridsdale 
cases, the cope ought to be worn in cathedral and 
collegiate churches at the administration- of Holy Com- 

"Believe me, my dear Lord, 

"Yours faithfully, 



And this was followed by a second letter, in which he 
goes more into the matter of ritual observances and the late 
judgments. It will be seen that he commits himself to no 
expression which could be regarded as favourable to the 
synodical action proposed by the Bishop. 

"Blackmoor, Petersfield. 

*• September 12M, 1877. 

" My dear Lord, — If any way can be found by which 
the object you have in view can be accomplished without 
the danger which I apprehend, I do not doubt you will 
discover it. But it seems to me to be iifi ^vpov a^/t^. 
That is all I need say further about it. 

" I confess that my own hopes from the more moderate 
section of the clergy who follow (for truth obliges me to 
make this admission in their favour) Mr. Keble's later 
teaching have been pretty well extinguished by the events 
of this year, and particularly by those events which preceded 
the delivery of the judgment in the Ridsdale case, and of 
which subsequent effects have been only the natural sequel. 
They seem to me to shew that, when men have once 
become well entangled in the meshes of party Association, 
the effort necessary for a change of attitude (even if the 
safety of the Church is at stake) is greater than the majority 
can make. 

" Of the stronger minds of the party, some are always in 
the front rank of the movement ; and these are able, 
practically, to regulate the action of the great majority, 
who are well-meaning but weak. History seems to shew 
that it always has been so, in the origin of all schisms 
and heresies : the heresiarchs lead ; they have an active 
immediate following, violent and unscrupulous, and the 
rest, who learn their shibboleths, go down the inclined 
plane into heresy, without being aware of it 

" I am not, therefore, sanguine as to your success. The 
subscribers to the Clmrcli TimeSy etc., and the members 
of the * Order of Corporate Reunion,' the * English Church 
Union,' and the other self-constituted confraternities which 
have undermined and disintegrated our Church, will (I feel 
only too sure) set at naught all episcopal declarations 
against their views, whether made in Diocesan Synod or 
elsewhere, as they have always hitherto done. Experience 


also compels me to fear, that Dr. Pusey and Canon Liddon, 
etc., will continue to side with them against all Bishops 
whatsoever, and that this intermediate influence will pre- 
vent those on whose disposition to accept an ex cathedra 
utterance of their Bishop (on the condition that he does 
not expressly recognise the duty of obeying the law of 
the land in such ecclesiastical matters as those in question) 
you are at present encouraged to rely, from using the 
means of escape from a false position which you desire 
to provide for them. 

" I am far from thinking that it is * inconsistent with 
loyalty to the present constitution in Church and State' 
to try such an experiment ; nor can I presume to say that 
there may not be enough chance of some good resulting 
from it to make it worth trying. But you will, I am sure, 
pardon me for finding it difficult to trust in the eflFect of 
palliatives with those who are radically disaffected towards 
that constitution, and to whom every new manifestation 
of the power of the law (which they defy but cannot defeat) 
will be a fresh occasion of discontent. I agree most 
entirely in what you say as to the gravity of the crisis. 
We seem to me to be, ecclesiastically and politically also, 
on a volcano's edge ; and these men are doing all in their 
power to make it overwhelm us. . . . 

" Believe me, ever, my dear Lord, 

" Yours faithfully, 

" Selborne." 

With Dr. Millard he entered into correspondence on the 
subject, and the letters shew how carefully he had studied 
the historical aspects of synodical action. 

"Farnham Castle, September jth^ 1877. 

'*My dear Dr. Millard,— Your correspondent seems 
to be entirely ignorant of the nature of a Diocesan Synod. 
If he will read Benedict XIV., *De Synodo Dioecesana,* 
or Ferrari's 'Prompta Bibliotheca s.v. Synod us Dioecesana,* 
or Thomassinus, or any other Canonist of authority, he 
will see that though, in a Diocesan Synod, the Bishop 
should ask the counsel of his C/iapter, and propose to his 
Synod whether they will accept his decrees by acclamation, 
yet he is not bound by the counsel of his Chapter or the 
acclamation of his Synod, but is the sole legislator. * In 


Synodo Dioecesium potest Episcopus facere constitutiones 
et decreta absque consensu et approbatione capituli et 
cleri. . . . Solus potestatem legislativam statuendi habet, 
et consilium sequi non tenetur' (Ferrari). The Bishop 
of Lincoln in his Synod proceeded on this principle. I 
explained to the Conference that I preferred generally a 
Conference to a Synods because in every true Synod of the 
Church Catholic the Bishop or the Bishops were always 
absolute, and I did not desire to be absolute. In the 
question of ritual, the ancient power of the Bishop was 
even exceptionally great. Each Bishop would frame his 
own Liturgy, and in early times even vary the form of the 
Creed (Bingham, Book II., ch. vi., ss. 2, 3). It was the Act 
of Uniformity which took away their power from Anglican 
Bishops. But still the right to interpret is reserved to 
Bishops. It is only by falling back on an Act of Parlia- 
ment that the Catholic authority of a Bishop, either alone 
or in his Synod, can be disputed. It was with the hope 
of saving the Ritualists that I desired to hold a Synod, 
and by ecclesiastical authority pronounce on Ritual. Very 
High Churchmen have entreated me to do so, as the last 
hope of peace ; but the lay members of the Committee are 
so strong against it (only two clerical members siding with 
them) that I feel I must give it up. I am very sorry ; for 
unless something can be done to appease the present 
diversity, I am sure that the Church will go to pieces. 
Both sides wax fiercer and fiercer. I am inundated with 
furious appeals from both extremes. Already the strength 
given to dissent and infidelity by our contentions is very 
grievous. The Low Church party in the Church was 
moribund, and almost in extremis. It is now triumphant 
among the laity, and gains fresh strength even among 
the young candidates for Orders. This is wholly due to the 
impracticable conduct of the advanced Ritualists." 

" Believe me, ever, 
" Most truly yours, 

" E. H. WiNTON." 

And again he writes from Farnham on September 
loth :— 

" My dear Dr. Millard,— Very many thanks for 
what you say. I am more apprehensive of a difficulty 
coming from the opposite side, viz., from those who are 


jealous for the Royal Supremacy ; e,g,. Lord Selbome. I 
think your objections might be moderated (not perhaps 
removed) by the following statements. 

" I. A Diocesan Synod never deliberated. Gravamina 
were presented to the Bishop (to which presentments at 
visitations now correspond) ; causes were heard by the Bishop 
(now transferred to the Consistory Courts) ; and laws were 
promulged by the Bishop, which were not discussed, but 
received by acclamation or objected to, but not therefore 
rejected, by acclamation or by silence. 

" 2. The form in which I should propose to promulge 
any law or decision would be this. * The Law of the 
Church for this diocese at present, and till furt/ier order 
shall be taken, is so and so.' By this means nothing would 
be stereotyped or rivetted. Only, if it were obeyed, the 
result would be present uniformity {e.g,, acceptance of the 
surplice in parish and of the cope in cathedral churches) 
and prosecutions would be prevented. My special purpose 
is to let down the extreme men as gently as possible. 

" Most truly yours, 

"E. H. WINTON." 

It is clear from his next letter that Dr. Millard took a 
good and wholesome English alarm at the huge increase in 
the episcopal authority here foreshadowed. The Bishop's 
reply to his remonstrance may well close the subject : — 

" Farnham Castle, September 20tk, 1877. 

" My dear Dr. Millard,— I shall be very sorry if I 
leave an impression on your mind that I am not grateful 
to you for freely and fully expressing your views. I am 
sure that any experiment now is dangerous ; but I think 
the crisis altogether so very perilous, that a bold policy 
seems to be the best. The laity, who advise against the 
Synod, do so generally on very opposite principles from 
those which guide you. They fear the Bishop's taking 
a position of apparent antagonism to, or at least inde- 
pendence of the law, and so a distinct move being made to 

" As to the paper which you sent me from an unknown 
writer, it seemed to me that he wholly misunderstood my 
plan, and the nature of Synods. I never dreamed of a 
mongrel Synod. It appears to me that our only alternative 


is the true ancient Synods of the Church, or Conferences of 
Bishop, clergy, and laity. I believe that the Church may 
always adapt itself to new necessities. In ages of com- 
parative rudeness laymen were unfit to join in counsel. 
Now, I do not think we can work without them. If I 
attempted to revive Diocesan Synods side by side with 
Conferences, I should certainly revive the ancient Diocesan 
Synod. I incline even to the same view as regards Con- 
vocation. Provincial Synods were Synods of Bishops only. 
In the thirteenth century the addition of abbots and other 
ecclesiastics was made to the Provincial Synod in this 
country (and in this country only, I believe); and that 
addition was originally quite as much from national as 
from ecclesiastical expediency, if not wholly from national 
expediency. This has grown into a Convocation of prelates 
and clergy. As it is not the ancient Provincial Synod, but 
a form of Council unknown to antiquity, I see no reason 
why a lay chamber should not be added, if such lay 
chamber should seem likely to give strength and popularity 
to it 

" In the Middle Ages, Diocesan Synods were not sum- 
moned annually ; often but once in an Episcopate, and 
often because of some grave necessity. There seems to me 
now a dignus vindice fiodus. But a considerable majority, 
on very different grounds, dissuade. 

" I hope you are right in your sanguine expectations. 
We are on our beam ends ; and the crew, if not in actual 
mutiny, have no united action. As far as my power of 
judging goes I should say that there was universal distrust. 
I do not for a moment think that the ship will sink ; but I 
do fear that the one organisation in Christendom which has 
hitherto succeeded in keeping up religious life in a nation 
may be altogether disorganised. France, Italy, Spain, 
Germany, Switzerland, Holland, have all but lost anything 
like true national Christian life. There is a pretty strong 
Ultramontane Church, and a very weak Protestant Church, 
in all of them ; but the Ultramontane, which is the only 
real power, is extra-national. It does not pervade the 
national life. Up to this time, the Anglican Church, with 
all its defects, has held the nation more or less true to 
its faith, and (imperfectly) loyal to its Head. There are 
alarming symptoms that this is a state of things rapidly 
passing away. The operatives are nearly lost to us. The 
middle class has long been largely dissenting. And now 


the gentry are rapidly going off to rationalism or indiffer- 
ence. All the work we are doing does not seem to arrest 
the downward progress, or to remove the distrust Let us 
trust in Providence and Grace. But we must act wisely 
under that in which we trust 
" Pardon length, haste, and scrawl. 

" Most truly yours, 

« E. H. WINTON." 

The reluctance and remonstrances of the large majority 
of the committee led the Bishop to abandon the scheme ; 
one sees from above with what despondency he bowed to 
their opinion. There is no doubt that the view he took 
of the action of a Bishop in Synod, the high-water-mark 
of episcopal claims to authority, would, if carried out in 
all dioceses, have had many very dangerous tendencies. 
With him, who would have judged and spoken with 
learning and temperate consideration for others, and in a 
true spirit of Christian charity, the results might have 
been productive of peace and goodwill ; it would not have 
been so everywhere. 

It is pleasant to have to record, as the conclusion of the 
effort which at this time had given the Bishop so much 
anxiety, that the Rev. D. Elsdale, of St John's, Kennington, 
protesting against the extravagant language used by more 
extreme men, spoke as follows respecting the decisions of 
his diocesan : — 

"If our Bishops are to trust us, we must trust them. I 
have myself the fullest confidence in the saintly character 
and godly prudence of my own diocesan, not only 
generally, but in this particular decision, which is a more 
inconvenient one to me than to any one else in the 
world. When I found that the Bishop had deliberately 
decided it, I was neither persistent in my remonstrances 
nor peevish in my complaints. I only trust in the great 
day of account I may be judged to have acted as uprightly 
and bravely, as kindly and humbly, as my Father in God 
has acted." 


1873— 1890. 

APART from the anxieties arising out of the unsettled 
state of Church opinion and practice, the Bishop's 
Winchester life was full of work which taxed his powers 
of endurance. He was well over sixty when he made the 
change. No man ever spared himself less. He took great 
pains with his Confirmations. Before he had been at 
Winchester a year he crossed, with much apprehension 
and suffering, to the Channel Islands, and took Confirma- 
tions in Guernsey, Jersey, and Sark ; preached missionary 
sermons; suggested his favourite Conferences, to be held 
at " two or three centres " ; discussed the Public Worship 
Bill, over which he had been at variance with the Arch- 
bishop, and expressed his approval of the Act, because it 
strengthened the Bishop's hands without an appeal to the 
law courts. His visit roused great interest in the Islands, 
and he was welcomed very cordially wherever he appeared. 
Consecrations of churches, meetings of Convocation, dio- 
cesan Conferences, many sermons, filled up all his days ; 
one wonders how he could have found a moment for 
the weighty topics which occupied his pen during these 
years. No wonder if, in the Church Congress at Plymouth, 
in 1876, he summed up a rather heated discussion on the 
increase of the episcopate with an address, in which he 



declared that the work of the dioceses was much better 
done than people seemed to think, and that it was the 
Bishops who really had most cause to complain ; he ended 
by saying that an increase in their number was needed as 
much for their own sake as for the sake of their flocks. 

He held a formal Cathedral Visitation on the last day 
of April, 1878, and took the opportunity of delivering a 
Charge to the officials of the mother church of his diocese. 
After saying that in origin Cathedral establishments were 
closely connected with the missionary work of the Church, 
and tracing the growth of the system to the present form, 
he goes on to lay out his views as to their true functions. 
There ought to be an active body gathered round their 
Bishop, intent on the advance of the Christian faith, holding, 
as from the beginning, the posts of danger and hard work, 
if also posts of honour and influence. He brushes aside 
the thought of a leisurely clergy, keeping up " the 
solemnities of an elaborate worship," " enjoying a dignified 
retirement in old age." "All points," he says, "to the 
Chapters as learned bodies, the Bishop's counsellors ; 
intent on teaching and preaching throughout the diocese. 
The old notion of a great Bishop, sitting in isolated 
grandeur, has become a thing of the past." He no 
longer administers his diocese with no assistance but that 
of a lawyer at his side ! He must take counsel with the 
clergy and laity. Advisers, teachers, missioners, must the 
future Cathedral bodies be. He also shews what should 
be the true status and honourable work of Priest Vicars, 
or of Minor Canons; nor does he forget an encouraging 
word to Lay Vicars, and clerks, vergers, sidesmen, and 
chorister boys. 

This Visitation was followed immediately by one of the 
diocese generally, in which he gave utterance to his strong 
alarm as to the " organised " spread of infidelity in the i 


country. This he attributed chiefly to the luxury of the 
last half-century, and summed up the result of it in the 
appalling formula, " No God, no responsibility, no sin, no 
goodness, no spiritual happiness here, no hereafter," and 
treated it as an invasion of materialistic ideals of life and 
happiness, the very antithesis of " altruism," Christian or 
non-Christian. He mooted the topic again at the " Pan- 
Anglican " Synod at Lambeth on July 4th, 1878, in terms 
which are, says the Standard^ " remarkable alike for intel- 
lectual vigour and personal piety." 

These labours and utterances were followed by a Charge 
" as remarkable for the variety of topics it handles, as for 
the sound common-sense and practical ability with which 
it handles them." It ranges over a wide field : the Con- 
fessional, the awkward form of the modern diocese of 
Rochester, religious education, the Dilapidations Act, the 
cottages of the working folk, allotments, the modern de- 
velopments of infidelity, the resistance of some of the 
clergy to the Public Worship Amendment Act 

This was followed by the Anglo-Continental Society's 
meeting at Farnham ; and the more public labours of 
his year were completed by the two-days' Conference at 
Winchester in October, in which he again attacked the 
subject of unbelief, and took a lively and interested share 
in discussions on Church property and on Institutions for 
Deaconesses ; he ended by saying (as he had every right 
to say)*that " he had taken a large part in the debates, and 
that he hoped they would give him credit for having no 
intention of biassing in any degree the free expression of 
opinion by his brethren." 

The Bishop's position as one of the preachers or readers of 
papers at Church Congresses was now completely assured. 
His interest in these gatherings from the beginning, his 
moderation, even his fears and despondencies, marked 


him out for the post ; he rarely missed a Congress, and, 
when present, often preached one of the opening sermons. 
The first of these discourses was delivered at Swansea 
(October 7th, 1879). In the 1881 Congress he read a 
paper on " the practical working of Cathedrals;" in 1883, 
at Reading, he preached a somewhat notable sermon on 
Antichrist. In 1884 he delivered an address on "The 
Advantages of an Established Church," at Carlisle ; in 
1885, at the Portsmouth Congress, another "On Some of 
the Difficulties of Working-Men." After this, his failing 
health forbade him any longer to venture on such exciting 
and fatiguing tasks. 

The active administrative work of the diocese was 
beginning to tell on him ; and the heavy calls on his purse 
added to his anxiety. Writing to Bishop McDougall in 
1 88 1, he lets us see how his sensitive nature felt the painful 
side of his duties : — 

" Ordination," he says, " goes on generally well : but I 
am greatly shaken from having had to reject two men 
yesterday, one . . . who says he has a wife grievously ill, 
who may probably die of it These are the saddest of all 
trials as a Bishop." 

His ordinations were to him, as they must be to all 
Bishops, times of unusual stress and anxiety. Yet, as 
Canon Edgar Jacob well says, speaking of these periods : — 

" The leading idea which a young man would take away 
with him, would be that he had been brought into contact 
with one of the most tender and fatherly men he had ever 
met in his life, of exquisite refinement, and most touching 
humility ; and that he had been allowed to share in such 
a family-life as is rarely seen. ... I have always thought 
that the Bishop represented the episcopate in its fatherly 
aspect more perfectly than any one I ever knew, and at 
an ordination this was especially emphasised. The Bishop 
took little part in any examinations. On the occasions on 


which he felt unable to pass a candidate, the pain which 
it gave him to reject a man I can hardly describe, or the 
exquisite delicacy with which such a decision was com- 
municated. . . . You know the combination of feelings 
which a young man brings to such a week of abiding 
memories. . . . He would carry away from Farnham impres- 
sions not only of the kindest hospitality, but of a family 
life, which would do him a world of good in the parish to 
which he might be sent" 

Many a man can bear out what Canon Jacob here says, 
and can look back on this sacred vestibule of his clerical life 
with the deepest thankfulness. 

Nor was his daily work without more exciting elements. 

" Threatening letters," he writes another day to Bishop 
McDougall, " are not confined to Corsica. I had one, anony- 
mous, a few days ago, to the effect that if I do not stop 
Confession at St. John's, Kennington (which is no longer 
in my diocese), the father of one of the girls will put a 
bullet through my head at Esdaile's without further 

This amused rather than alarmed him. He was much 
more seriously affected by the heated state of opinion at 
this period in Bournemouth, where on the death of Mr. 
Bennett, the Vicar of St Peter's, a kind of warfare had 
broken out between Church-parties, always specially in- 
flammable and irritable at watering-places. 

In October 1879 we find the Bishop, as Visitor, present 
at the 500th Anniversary of the foundation of New College, 
Oxford ; and in the renovated chapel he delivered an 
address to the assembled College, in which he gave ex- 
pression to the forebodings, happily never realised, with 
which he and very many regarded the reform of the 
Universities, and his fears lest in the future the influences 
of religion would be less potent there than they had been 
in the past. The sad note of alarm which sounds through 


the address was characteristic of his temperament, which 
longed only to see the Collie moving along the ancient 
ways, not engaged in what he calls " the death-struggle of 
agnosticism against ;faith, but reverting in spirit and use to 
the traditions of their great founder, William of Wykeham." 

A little later he laid the first stone of the new Isle of 
Wight College, and gave the Island folk a very interesting 
account of his visit to Dr. Arnold at Rugby many years 
before, and of that great man's desire that his school should 
be a potent influence for good in the formation and 
strengthening of the religious and moral natures of the 
youth of England. 

Nothing, it may be, shook the Bishop so much as the 
sudden and dramatic death of his friend and coadjutor 
Bishop Utterton. That excellent and very lovable man 
had been told that his life was hanging on a thread, and 
for some time had been walking in the full knowledge that 
the summons might come at any moment. It came to 
him, as a good man would most wish and pray that it 
might come, in perfect peace, without fear or suffering, as 
he was about his Father's business. On Sunday, December 
2 1 St, 1879, he read the Communion Service in the parish 
church at Ryde, and when he had ended the Prayer for 
the Church Militant, knelt down and gave himself to silent 
devotion. At that moment the summons came, and he 
yielded up his spirit to his Master. 

" His death," the Bishop writes, " throws a sad gloom on 
all the diocese. He was all you say of him, and the longer 
I knew him, the more highly I esteemed him. He was 
thoroughly and actively kind, never sparing himself in the 
work of his Master and his fellow-servants. To me he 
was thoroughly loyal and useful. He knew the diocese, 
and always gave me honest counsel. His death was most 
striking. After a week of hard work, going to Ryde to 
preach twice, preaching an eloquent sermon, and uttering 


as his last words, * that with them we may be partakers 
of Thy heavenly kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord' 
May >ve meet him there ! " 

The archdeaconry of Surrey, thus rendered vacant, the 
Bishop filled up by an appointment which did him honour. 
For no one who knew Archdeacon Atkinson could have 
failed to recognise in him very high and noble gifts of 
Christian power and faith. But the Bishop shall speak 
for himself. Writing from Famham on January 8th, 1880, 
he says : — 

" I have appointed Atkinson of Dorking to the arch- 
deaconry, which carries a canonry. He has been only 
five years in the diocese, and it seems a little hard to 
place him above such men as A., B., or C, but I think he 
has qualifications which none of them [possess]. He is, 
what none of them are, a very able speaker and preacher. 
He conciliates every one without being a time-server. 
Then, he is an excellent organiser, a thorough gentleman 
and devout Christian, a sound and moderate Churchman. 
I am afraid he is not strong, and may therefore have to 
give up Dorking, but I have not urged him to do so, for he 
is extremely beloved there, and it would be very hard to 
fill his place as a parish priest. He is the man the Dean 
[Bramston] wished for, and I learn that he is the man 
whom Utterton would have wished to succeed him. I trust 
he will be acceptable to you." 

The Bishop now seems to have thought that he could 
cope alone with the diocese, relying on the cordial and 
ever ready help of Bishop McDougall. For eight years, 
in spite of his failing strength, he persevered, and it was 
not till 1888 that he summoned Archdeacon Sumner to 
his aid. 

During the year 1880 the Bishop's labours were not 
lightened in any way. In addition to the ordinary routine 
duties of the See, he, as Bishop and Visitor, opened the 
new Modern School at Winchester in May, with a speech 



wWch involved the very difficult task of treating gently 
the feelings of both the City and the College, and of 
shewing that it was a good thing to have education divided, 
not by the substance of it, or by the subjects taught, but 
by the grades of society attending school He also threw 
some life into a very dry matter — the praises of Latin as 
a subject for education— by saying that he had known of a 
very excitable youth of nineteen whose brain was in danger, 
and his friends saved him by prescribing, as the dullest and 
most sobering thing they could think of, a steady course of 
long doses of Latin grammar ; and he felt sure, too, that 
the ancients had been exceeding wise in selecting amo as 
the first example of a Latin verb, because of the soothing 
effect it was known to have on the youthful eagerness of 
boys, who, but for some such cooling medicine, would 
always be in danger of falling in love. 

A month or so later we find him taking part in the 
festivities and speech-making at his old College of Lampeter, 
on occasion of the opening of the new chapel. And he 
closed the year by a long address, delivered before the 
Christian Evidences Society at Bournemouth, on the strife 
between faith and infidelity, a topic now pressing ever more 
and more on his mind. 

Early in 1881 a Resolution was agreed to by the 
Upper House of Convocation calling on Government to 
appoint a Commission on the Ecclesiastical Courts, and 
he was made a member of it. On this Commission he 
sat for two years. He felt that the three Courts, (i) that 
of First Instance, the Bishops', (2) the Archbishop's Court 
of Appeal, and (3) the Judicial Committee of the Privy 
Council, were all open to objection. How could they be 
better framed so as to maintain at once the supremacy 
of the Crown and the liberties of the Church and of 
Churchmen ? He was in favour of making the Arch- 


bishop's Court, in which the Archbishop himself sat with 
comprovincial Bishops as assessors, the final Court of 
Appeal. " It would be a Court of the most primitive 
character, from which appeal could be made to the Queen 
in a secular court if wrong were done to the civil rights 
or temporalities of her subjects." 

Twice in Bishop Harold Browne's life, in 1868 and 1882, 
he seemed likely to become Archbishop of Canterbury ; 
and, in 1868 at any rate, he would have welcomed the 
promotion, proud to be enrolled in the list of Primates. 

In a letter to Prebendary Meyrick he says : — ' 

" You refer to what occurred fourteen years ago (in 1868). 
I do not suppose I was so near the Primacy then, for 
. . . was resolved on Tait ; but I came near enough to 
be advertised and congratulated. . . . Such * close shaves * 
seldom happen to one man in relation to offices so 
important. They are all ordered by >yisdom and love, 
and form part of the trials and yet blessings of one's life.'* 

There is a curious letter from one of the Bishop's 
disappointed friends, who writes that, talking to one of 
the Cabinet Ministers, — 

" I ventured to say that Bishops of London not unusually 
succeeded [to the Primacy]. He said most positively, 
'You may make yourself quite sure about him — he is 
impossible' He then said, * It is quite incredible, the 
number of letters I and others in the Cabinet have received 
from every part of the country urging the nomination 

of your friend the B p of E— y.' * Well,' I said, ' he 

is the very man. He is liked by all classes, and would 
be popular with all parties. He is a thorough gentleman, 
which is not the case with every Bishop, and he has that 
in him, both spiritually and intellectually, which would 
ensure his rising to the height of any emergency.' His 
eyes sparkled, and his face was suffused with smiles, and 
he said, * Well, we shall see — only, remember, I don't know 
finything.' . , . Nothing more passed, till I saw the present 
appointment I was furious at the thought of an Eras- 


tian and champion of Colenso and patron of Stanley 
being selected by a Conservative Premier on the eve of 

a general election, and I told that I looked on D 

as a humbug, that I would as soon see G in his place 

as not, and that I should not vote to keep such an im- 
postor in office." 

In 1882 the Bishop was again much spoken of for the 
throne of Canterbury. Nothing, indeed, but his years and 
growing infirmities stood between him and the Primacy. 
Mrs. Harold Browne was consulted as to the state of the 
Bishop's health, and her opinion asked as to whether 
she thought he could stand the strain of the ^jew duties 
and of a change of work, considering his age, seventy- 
one, and his state of health. Her necessarily cautious 
and guarded reply may have left the impression that she 
dreaded a change for her husband. 

There was a general feeling that the Bishop of Win- 
chester would be a very safe appointment There was 
nothing but good will towards him from the highest down- 
wards. The dying Archbishop wished it. The Bishop of 
Gibraltar, one of Archbishop Tait's most intimate friends, 
writes that — 

"In the summer before he died he said to me, *Who 
ought to be my successor ? * At first I refused to answer ; 
but when pressed I said, * The Bishop of Winchester.' He 
replied, * Why, he is as old as I am, and as infirm ; give 
me another answer.* I declined, and the subject dropped. 
In the autumn, when he was very ill, he sent for me and 
said, * I want your advice. Ought I to resign ? * My 
reply was, * No, not now ; the doctors give hope of recovery. 
But if, when spring returns and the work of the new year 
begins, you find that your strength has not returned, I 
think you ought to resign.' * So do I,* said Tait, *and that 
is the course I mean to take. Now I will ask you again 
the question I asked you in the summer : who should be 
my successor ? ' * I give you the same answer I gave you 


before/ I replied — ' the Bishop of Winchester/ * Right/ he 
said, * though he is old, yet in existing circumstances he is 
the fittest for the office/" 

And again, in conversation with the present Bishop of 
Rochester, the Archbishop went so far as to say : — 

" I should be truly thankful to think it certain that 
the Bishop of Winchester would succeed me at Lambeth. 
He could do more than any other man to preserve the 
Church in peace for its real work against sin. 1 pray 
God he may be appointed, and may accept the call.*' 

Bishop Harold Browne's accounts of his last interview 
with Archbishop Tait are too interesting to be omitted 
here. The first is addressed to his old friend Prebendary 
Meyrick, the other to his wife : — 

''November 2Zth, 1882. 

" I went to Addington yesterday to bid a long farewell, 
though at my age it may not be very long, as I trust we 
may meet, by God*s mercy in Christ, in the Paradise of 
God and in the presence of the Lamb. Most touching our 
interview was. The strong man, with almost iron will, 
gentle and humble as a child, full of patience and love. To 
me he was very affectionate, and I knelt in prayer with him 
at his own wish, and (as he said) to his great comfort. It 
seems presumptuous to pray, in words of blessing, for one 
greater and better than oneself. I feel sure of his true 
Christian spirit, though I have often differed with him in 
times past. We have long been on terms of warm friend- 
ship, and a deathbed unites in faith and scatters all trifling 

*' Most affectionately yours, 

" E. H. WiNTON." 

•'BossiNGTON House, Stockbridge, 
''November 28/^, 1882. 

. "It was a scene of sadness, but yet of comfort. He is 
very weak, and was much affected. We mingled our 


prayers and our tears. He was full of gentleness, patience, 
and love ; spoke of his own faults as chief ruler, but of his 
hopes for the Church as well as for himself ; sent his love 
and blessing to all mine, spoke of his probable (as he 
thought and hoped) successor too much in the same 
direction that you point. I fear some successor will be 
soon. He is evidently sinking, but in this fine weather it 
may be slowly. It is very striking and full of pathos to 
see a strong man, with such a will as he had, so like a little 
child going home to his Father. May the Father support 
and guide and receive him, and supply his place (it will be 
a large void) to the Church." 

And a very few days later, on Advent Sunday, the 
Bishop writes : — 

" I have a telegram to say that the Archbishop died 
peacefully at 7.15 this -morning. Mrs. Tait died on Advent 
Sunday too, 1878. Very likely he will be buried on the 
7th, which is the anniversary of her funeral. This is very 
remarkable and touching. I have learned to love the 
Archbishop as I never thought I could have done. When 
you know him well, he is full of goodness. May God 
direct all the future for His Church and the spread of His 
Kingdom. The struggle is strong between good and evil 

" Ever most affectionately yours, 

" E. H. WINTON." 

There can be no doubt that, in spite of age and growing 
infirmities, Bishop Harold Browne felt a certain disap- 
pointment when he found a much younger man preferred 
before him. The opportunity of exercising his powers in 
the direction of peace, moderation, and union with other 
communities would have been very dear to him ; as it was, 
he was too good and noble of nature to feel any bitterness, or 
even to express much regret He neither fretted over it 
nor allowed it to interfere with his regular work in the 
diocese. Before it was settled he writes thus to Bishop 
McDougall :- — 


"Farnham Castle, December 14/A, 1882. 

"It will probably be settled in a day or two; offerejd 
(I believe) either to me or to the Bishop of Truro. Jt 
would be certainly to me, but from doubt of my age and 
health. If it should be offered to me, do you think I 
ought to take it ? I am on the road to seventy-two. It 
would relieve me of so many confirmations and so much 
travelling ; but it would bring fresh and greater anxieties, 
more frequent public meetings, etc., etc., and larger cor- 
respondence (for which two secretaries would be absolutely 

Then, on December 19th, he writes to the Bishop : — 

" I hear no more of the person to whom Canterbury is 
to be offered. ... If it were not for the many confirmations 
in the Channel Islands, I should prefer Winton to Cantuar, 
especially with all my friends around me ; only there 
seemed a bright vision of hope that I might be permitted 
to work for the Church of God, having a locus standi which 
gives more purchase and power." 

And then, again, a little later, when he knew it was not 
to be : — 

" I thank you with all my heart for all you say of and 
to me, most undeserving of all such good sayings as I am. 
The Primacy has been so pressed on me by those not in 
authority, so many said it must be offered to me, and so 
many that it was my duty to take it, that I had nearly 
made up my mind that it would be so, much as I felt my 
want of qualifications for the post So when Gladstone 
wrote to me that I was too old, I felt rather a blank. I 
had begun plans for mending matters, if possible, and their 
fall brought some disappointment But I am thankful 
that God has so ordered it I am (or at least soon shall 
be) too old for any great struggle, and no one knows what 
is impending. Benson's shoulders are broader and his 
strength unbroken. Fourteen years ago I was more con- 
fidently advertised and congratulated on the Primacy than 
I was just now. I have been spared much trouble, 
doubtless, in both cases. 

" Ever most affectionately yours, 

" E. H. Winton." 


In another letter he refers with pardonable pride to an 
autograph communication which at this moment he received 
from the Queen, by whose most gracious permission it 
appears in these pages. 

*' Osborne, December i^h, 1882. 

" The Queen has been much touched by the very kind 
letter from the Bishop of Winchester to Lady Ely, and 
wishes herself to thank him for it, and for all the kind 
expressions towards herself which it contains. No one 
could more worthily have filled the position of Primate 
than the Bishop, and the Queen would have sincerely 
rejoiced to see him succeed our dear and ever-lamented 
Archbishop Tait But she feels it would be wrong to ask 
him to enter on new and arduous duties, which now more 
than ever tax the health and strength of him who has to 
undertake them, at his age, which, as the Bishop himself 
says, is the same as that of our dear late friend 

" The Queen thanks the Bishop of Winchester for saying 
that he will give the new Primate all the support he can, 
which will be of inestimable value. 

"She cannot conclude without offering him and his 
family the ^ best wishes and blessings of the season." 

Of Mr. Gladstone's letter he gives a brief summary in 
a note to Bishop McDougall, dated December 22nd, 1882 : — 

" On Wednesday night I got a long and very kind letter 
from Gladstone, saying that (referring to some qualities 
which my friends are too kind in seeing) if the Primacy 
had fallen a few years ago, I must unquestionably have 
been * ordered to accept the succession to that great See.' 
Then he speaks of the * newness of the duties of the 
English, or rather Anglican or British Primacy, to a 
Diocesan Bishop, however able and experienced * ; the pre- 
cedents, viz., that no Bishop .since Juxon (1660) — a very 
exceptional case — * has assumed the Primacy after seventy;' 


says *how pleasant it would have been for. him to have 
marked his respect and affection for me by making the 
proposal/ and adds, * What is more important is that I 
am authorised by Her Majesty to state that this has been 
the single impediment to her conferring the honour and 
imposing the burden upon you of such an offer.' " 

After a few days he recurs to the subject in his almost 
daily letter to Bishop McDougall : — 

" Farnham, December 29M, 1882. 

"My dear Brother, — ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ i believe that Benson 
will make an excellent Archbishop. I like him very much. 
He is vigorous, able, modest, and warm-hearted, a strong 
Churchman, but with large sympathies. Gladstone was 
quite right to pass by an antiquity like myself for the youth 
and vigour of Benson. It is perhaps a little mortifying to 
see in all papers so much about one's advanced age and 
growing infirmities, when, thank God, I feel stronger and 
better than I have been for years. Gladstone, I learned 
both from himself and others, searched into all precedents, 
from the Commonwealth to the present day, for a Primate 
who began his work at seventy, and found none but 
Juxon. Curiously, I have been reading that he himself, 
prompted by Bishop Wilberforce, wanted Palmerston to 
appoint Sumner (of Winchester) when he was seventy-two. 
It was when they feared that they could not get Longley 
(who was sixty-eight)." 

In the end his calm and unselfish judgment enabled him 
to say : — 

" If the Primacy had been offered me the dying words 
of the late Primate, the urgency of the Archbishop of 
York and my brother Bishops and of others, might have 
led me to accept ; and in a year or two I might have failed. 
I thought that I might find the new work easier than the 
present, which is very heavy ; and the new stimulus might 
have given me fresh life. But clearly, Bishop Benson 
is far fitter for care and responsibility than I am, who 
am eighteen years older. The great kindness of the 
Queen's letter to me, and of every one, especially of my 


brother Bishops and my diocese, ought to make me 
thankful and, still more, humble, as sensible of my great 

From this time onward we can see that it was becoming 
for the Bishop a growing struggle against failing strength. 
On the one side was his love of work, and determined 
power of will, which drove him, often against his better 
judgment, to undertake exhausting duties and to fulfil 
even unnecessary engagements ; on the other side was 
the steady advance of years, the slow development of that 
feebleness of frame which is ever a sore trial to the active- 
minded man. Very soon after the Lambeth matter was 
over he began to think about another Suffragan in the 
place of Bishop Utterton. 

"I am always feeling," he writes, 17th March, 1883, 
"that it may soon come to my resigning, or having a 
regular Suffragan, which would be much more expensive. 
My perpetual liability to cold, often turning to fever, gives 
warning of this. Resignation would be best for my pocket, 
and perhaps for myself and family ; for episcopacy is a 
very expensive luxury." 

A little later, July 9th, 1883, he discusses the topic of a 
Bishop of Southampton and the Channel Islands. 

" The doubts," he says, " I felt at the first moment were : 

" I. Whether the Bishop of London would dislike such a 

"2. Whether much additional responsibility would be 
thrown on me, as I am growing older. 

** 3. Whether, if I were to need a Suffragan, of which I 
have often thought, it would prevent me from getting one 
and yet not supply the place of one to me. 

" I have still (though I have lost South London) the 
largest country diocese in England ; by ' country * I mean 
excluding London and the manufacturing districts. My 
population is still as large as Lincoln, which has a Suffragan 
and yet clamours for subdivision. I have nearly a thousand 
clergy. My area lis from the Thames to Normandy. I 


think, however, that both for the public good and for that 
of my own diocese I should be glad to come into the 
scheme, if it should approve itself to others." 

The " Suffragan for the Continent " was a plan by which 
it was proposed, at the instance of the Anglo-Continental 
Society, to appoint a Bishop of Southampton, whose 
business it should be to watch over the Channel Islands, 
and the English congregations on the Continent, and also to 
be a link connecting the English Church with the reform 
movements in France and Spain. The Islands rose at once 
in fierce revolt They resented bitterly any attempt to 
sever them, even partially, from the diocese of Winchester 
and from the English connexion, and thought that they 
were going to be handed over to a kind of Bagman Bishop 
who would nominally be theirs, while really he was moving 
from place to place on the Continent. Their opposition 
was so strong that the Bishop gave way before it, and the 
whole scheme fell through. 

A little later he thinks of inviting retired Colonial 
Bishops to settle in the diocese, and to give him aid 
when needful, as, for example, in confirmation times ; in 
this way he had for some time the help of Bishop Cramer 
Roberts. About the same period there was some talk of 
the probable resignation of one of the strongest and 
best of our English prelates. Bishop Eraser of Manchester. 
The good living of Old Alresford was likely to be vacant, 
and his plan was to invite the Bishop of Manchester to 
settle there as his helper. In this he was checked by 
somewhat small and narrow objections raised by one of his 
most trusted counsellors : — 

" A., to whom I hinted it, says it would be very unpopular 
with Churchmen in the diocese. I doubt this, as Eraser is 
a very pleasant man, though unfortunately led into a party 
fight. He is certainly not a Low Churchman." 


Still, With his marked deference for the opinions of others, 
the Bishop paused ; and the diocese, which has too often 
been unable to keep its men of ability, lost the chance of 
being reinforced by a really strong man. The question as to 
a Suffragan slumbered till 1888, when Mr. George Sumner 
was appointed Bishop of Guildford. 

In this year, 1883, the Bishop took active part in pro- 
moting the " Children's Charter," the Bill for the Protection 
of Women and Children, and saw with thankfulness its 
passage into law. The welfare of the little ones was always 
very dear to him ; their childishness woke all the child- 
nature in him, and always secured his willing help. He 
was also devoted to animals, and braved the anger of the 
medical world this year by taking the chair at an anti- 
vivisection meeting for the protection of God's dumb 

He, also, about this time, in 1882 and 1883, had the 
great pleasure of taking part in the marriages of his three 
clerical sons, Barrington, Thirlwall, and Robert Barring- 
ton, whose first wife, Helen, daughter of Dr. Jackson^ 
Bishop of London, after a brief and happy wedded life, 
had died of decline at Madeira, was now married to 
Louisa, daughter of the Bishop of Guildford, his father's 
trusted friend and helper. Thirlwall was married to Rose, 
daughter of Mr. Anderson of Waverley Abbey ; and 
Robert to Agnes, Lord Rollo's eldest daughter. Robert 
was at the time his father's chaplain, as his elder brothers' 
had been before him ; so that the young couple spent the 
first seven years of their wedded life at Farnham, where 
three of their children were bom. It was a fresh be- 
ginning of life for the affectionate old man ; his little 
grandchildren were ever a source of the deepest and 
purest delight to him. 

In the autumn he took a charming holiday in the 

' th. 

i: .nti 









Scottish Highlands, and while there wrote his well-known 
Congress Sermon on Antichrist, which he preached at St. 
Laurence's Church, Reading, in the following October. It 
is tinged with a sense of apprehension ; there is the gloom 
of one who seems to see the forces of evil gathering 
round the citadel of the Church, and listens intently for 
the signal of attack. The hindering power, which has 
kept Antichrist at bay, is the Holy Roman Empire in its 
earlier or later developments, and its principle of Roman 
law combined with religion. This, he urges, was "taken 
out of the way " by the French Revolution, with the fall 
of the older world ; the new world, then born, has slowly 
shaken itself free from the bonds of Order ; " the fabric 
is rapidly loosening," he says : the next century may " see 
the world bereft of that power of social order and of iron 
law tempered by Christian faith," and "a spirit growing 
up, silently gaining strength and ascendency, which has 
well-nigh every mark of St PauFs Man of Sin and of St. 
John's Antichrist " ; and so next century will see a death- 
struggle between the Church and the world. How this 
view can be reconciled with the doleful state of religion in 
past days, when '* Law and Order " reigned supreme, is not 
ours to say: it may at least as well be argued that the 
liberties of our time are more, not less, favourable to the true 
advance of religion. Still, the sermon was received with 
great approval by all whose minds had been alarmed by 
the swift advances of these later days, and by changes 
which, as they sweep away the ancient barriers, compel 
new thoughts and ways of appealing to the souls and 
consciences of men. 

Among the many letters called forth by this sermon 
is one from Mr. Gladstone, who was clearly much 
interested in the subject. 

" I must now send thanks more than formal," he writes 


from Downing Street, in the midst of the cares of office. 
"It seems to put into a practical and pastoral form the 
matter of a learned and careful dissertation. ... It has, I 
think, much cleared my ideas, and I thank your Lordship 
very much for such assistance ; especially in regard to your 
exposition of * he that letteth.' I understand this to be in 
your view the strong hand of law, embodied as well as 
represented in the Roman Empire, on and after which was 
modelled the Roman' State. And this State, not allowing 
free opinion, repressed licence as well as liberty, and 
prevented the profession and extension of atheism in its 
now multitudinous forms. 

" I have no doubt wc have among us an idolatry of 
* Church and State ' ; and the idolaters, or some of them, 
would not scruple to say that whatever is barbarously 
termed 'voluntaryism,' which is making progress in the 
world, was Antichrist Yet I suppose it to be incredible 
that Apostles who were teaching Christianity as (in this 
sense) a private opinion, against or in fear of the State, 
could have meant to describe as Antichrist a full and free 
permission by the State to teach. . . . 

"lit is now, I think, over forty-five years since Manning 
was the first to point out to me that the Church was 
pushing back into the condition which it held before 

" It all shows us a vast, overpowering, and bewildering 
drama : but not without a key to its plan and meaning." 

With this courteous and very able criticism of the 
sermon we may pass on. The bulk of the acknowledg- 
ments were those of friends who sympathised with the 
Bishop's gloomier view of things, while they also joined 
him in refusing to fasten on the Roman Church the stigma 
of being Antichrist. 

It was in 1883 that England woke to the fact that she 
possessed a real Christian hero in General Gordon. At 
this time he was much drawn to our Bishop, and studied 
eagerly the " Exposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles," a 
book which, one might have thought, would have repelled 
a man of action, untrained in theology. It was exactly 


the contrary. His eager, devout spirit was attracted by 
the piety and learning of the Bishop, and he at this time 
wrote him one or two interesting letters on " the first and 
second eating," — that is, on the loss of God's presence at 
the Fall, and the recovery of it at the Holy Communion, 
through the sacrifice of the Cross. 

"In 1 88 1, I wrote to your Chaplain about your work on 
the Thirty-Nine Articles, with regard to original sin ; and 
then I sent your Lordship a small paper on the * two 
eatings,' the first in Eden, the second in the Lord s Supper ; 
since which time I have thought much on these two Com- 
munions, and it was a true pleasure to me, when we both 
were ill from our mutual first eating, to meet you at the 
antidotal (if there is such a word) eating at St. 'Luke's, 
Southampton. ... As the first eating made us partakers 
of Satan, so the second eating makes us partakers of 

His letter ends with a very characteristic passage on 
the Jews : — 

" It may be that some of your clergymen will be inclined 
to take up this view of the Jews, as typical of the wailing 
Christians. It is not accidental that this typical nation are 
so distinguished for usury, for collecting old clothes, filthy 
rags of righteousness. They are the same as ever they 
were. Mr. Friedlander came back from England, and many 
hundred Jews met him, hoping he had got funds for a 
Colony, where they would have house, etc., etc. They 
greeted him with the title of Messiah ! That is their view, 
to get back their carnal things, and then they will act even 
as they did before to Jehovah." ' 

It is touching to t!s, seeing what is past, thus to get a 
glimpse into the mind of this pious mystic, whose jsoul was 
ever striving to win its way into the true presence of God, 
and who felt by instinct that the Bishop would understand 
and sympathise. 

" Your writings," says Prebendary Barnes, " have led him 
to read * Pearson on the Creed ' and the Bishop of Lincoln's 
(Wordsworth's) Commentary ; and in order to study 


Sc*ripture he has lived almost as a hermit in Jerusalem or 
Jaffa for this year. . . . Though his ideas, as expressed to 
you, may seem half-incoherent, yet my long correspondence 
makes me sure that he has clear and coherent thought, 
and sees much which other men usually do not." 

For the General was as one of the prophets of old time ; 
and men misunderstood him accordingly, or thought him 
mad. Inspiration carries a man beyond the bounds by 
which our poof finite minds measure all things, whether in 
heaven or earth. 

Soon after this time General Gordon, called to Brussels 
by the King of the Belgians in order that he might head 
the anti-slavery campaign in Africa, returned to England. 
Early in the year 1884, Prebendary Barnes wrote to our 
Bishop to arrange that he and the General should meet 
before the latter started for Africa. The visit, however, 
never took place. Mr. Barnes's next letter describes his de- 
parture for his last heroic effort, as he set forth with noble 
and far-reaching aims, eager to lead the crusade against 
Arab slavery. For this he gladly laid down his life. The 
work to which his strong faith in Christian liberty thus 
allured him a decade ago is still undone, though there are 
signs on the political horizon that the ultimate struggle 
will not long be delayed. Once more, let us hope, England 
and Belgium will lead in the battle for the liberties of the 
children of Ham. 

On February i8th, 1884, Mr. Barnes writes thus to the 
Bishop : " I have a telegram dated this afternoon, saying 
that he had been summoned to London, and adding, * I go 
to the Soudan to-night: if He goes with me, all will be 

One letter only has to be added, ere we bid farewell to 
the most interesting and noble figure of modem English 
history ; it was written a year later, after the whole drama 


had been played out to the end, and England's head was 
bowed low with sorrow and even with remorse. It is from 
his devoted sister, still hoping against hope: — 

" 5, RocKSTONE Place, Southampton, 
''February 19M, 1885. 

" My Lord, — Thank you sincerely for your kind letter 
of sympathy in this terrible trial. I cling still to the hope 
he may be a prisoner, but my hope is all but dead. His 
kindness and help to me at all times no one can know but 
myself, and I feel in future this must be a weary life. God 
alone can take away my rebellious will. He warned me 
from Khartoum, March nth, to 'remember our Lord did 
not promise success or peace in this life. He promised 
tribulation, so if things do not go well after the flesh. He 
still is faithful ; He will do all in love and mercy to me ; 
my part is to submit to His will, however dark it may be. 
Every judgment we pass is impugning His Godhead, and 
is paganism.' 

" My brother often spoke to me of you, and would like 
much to have met you, as he valued your opinions ; but it 
was not to be in this world. He longed for and truly 
desired to depart, and now he has his wish. He so often 
said, * I would so like to have a peep over the hedge and 
see this New Jerusalem.' 

"A. Gordon." 

In this year, 1884, on the occasion of the three-hundredth 
anniversary of the foundation of his College at Cambridge, 
the Bishop was elected Honorary Fellow of Emmanuel, 
and was present at the commemoration, preaching in the 
College Chapel on " Sowing and Seeding." He dealt with 
the fact that his College had been founded on Puritan lines, 
full of the force of the then rising ideas. " In those early 
days it seems to have attracted great numbers, for more 
than three hundred undergraduates at once are recorded 
to have studied here. Four of the translators of the 
Bible were Emmanuel men; during the Commonwealth 
it gave Heads to no fewer than eleven Colleges." After 



the Restoration, Sancroft was made master, that he 
might purge out the Puritan leaven, and succeeded so 
thoroughly that the College shrank to half its size, 
under the influence of High Church theology and the 
Tory politics of the time. The Bishop's graphic picture of 
the strength and weakness of Puritanism make " Sowing 
and Seeding" one of his happiest utterances. At the 
luncheon which followed next day, he touched on his 
ancient connexion with the College. " I came up as a boy 
to Emmanuel, and for fifty-six years have been one of her 
sons. I lived here twelve years as a Scholar, ten as a 
resident Professor, and ten as Bishop of Ely, in all that 
time enjoying the closest connexion with the College." 

It was a year of commemorations. Hardly was the 
first over, when he came to Winchester to honour the seven- 
hundredth anniversary of the Mayoralty and civic con- 
stitution of the city, and at the banquet claimed for Church 
and clei^ that they " had ever been on the side of liberty." 
A few weeks later, as Senior Steward, he presided over the 
yearly festival of the Natives' Society, which had been 
established in the time of Charles H. to succour the orphans 
of those who perished at Winchester in the Plague of 1666. 
He took the opportunity of disclaiming all party feelings. 
" I have a great horror of politics," he said, " and often widi 
there were no such thing in existence. . . . Party politics 
ruin friendships, and I have dear friends on both sides. 
It is not so' bad now as in the days of the Reform Bill, 
when, at a Northamptonshire ball, the Whigs took one side 
of the room and the Tories the other, and a Whig lady 
would not dance with a Tory gentleman, or a Tory lady 
with a Whig." 

From the Church Congress at Carlisle, where he read a 
paper on the " Advantages of an Established Church," and 
urged his hearers to pursue the noblest form of " Church 


defence/* the form of devotion to the cause of the gospel 
among the neglected masses of our fellow-countrymen, he 
passed into Scotland. There he was present at the most 
interesting anniversary of all, the centenary of the con- 
secration of the first American Bishop, Dr. Seabury, 
(November 14th, 1784). The occasion appealed to his 
very heart. He saw in it the germ of unity among the 
many branches, English, Scottish, American, Colonial, of 
the Anglican Church. In his speech on the occasion he 
again urged the double duty of our Church, to be the 
Church of the poor and suffering, and also to be the 
mother of united Churches and bearer of a message of 
peace and fraternal love to other bodies of Christians. 
Looking back on this period of activity he writes i— 

" Carlisle was hard work ; so was Aberdeen, at which 
I had to represent the English Episcopate ; for Carlisle 
[Harvey Goodwin] was only there one day, and I was the 
senior Bishop. So I had plenty of speeches to make, 
besides one special address. It was very interesting : five 
American Bishops, six Scotch (all but the good old Primus), 
Gibraltar and Maritzburg for the Colonies. The functions 
and the speaking were very interesting, the congregations 
and other assemblies crowded and large." 

The Episcopal Church in America has great promise of 
the future ; it is " High " Anglican in usage, fresh and 
liberal in opinion ; it shews how well the Episcopal system 
can fit the untrammelled freedom of a republic ; it is, too, 
a wholesome link between the old country and the new, 
and a proof that establishment has nothing to do with 
the essence of a Church's life ; it encourages us if we are 
gloomy as to the future ; it helps us to bring the religion 
of past days into harmony with the aspirations of the new 
era ; it speaks successfully to an independent and self-reliant 
people ; and while it may well be destined to modify some 
of our stiffer and more traditional notions, also influences 


in a really conservative spirit some of the cruder tendencies 
of the modem American life. 

In this very busy year, which taxed all his powers so 
severely, the Bishop still found time to take part in many 
movements which, had he so been minded, he might have 
left on one side. One such effort, which he warmly sup- 
ported, was the " White Cross League," of which Lord 
Mount-Temple and Canon George Butler, with his noble 
wife, were the chief supporters. The Bishop asked to be 
made President of this League, and thus shewed his sym- 
pathy with all efforts on behalf of social purity and the 
protection and elevation of suffering womankind. In this, 
it need scarcely be said, he was most warmly seconded by 
Mrs. Harold Browne, who has ever been a true friend and 
champion of her sex. At the close of the year, the Bishop 
suffered a very severe loss in the death of Archdeacon 
Jacob, who had held in his hands many of the threads of 
diocesan work for nearly half a century, and had grown 
in power and breadth of views all that time, — a man of 
remarkable character, humorous, affectionate, strong, who 
by a long life of hard work and rigid uprightness and 
justice had endeared himself to the whole diocese The 
Bishop, writing to Bishop McDougall, thus describes the 
shadow of approaching death : — 

'* Farnham Castle, December i<M, 1884. 

" My dear Brother,— ... I had plenty of work in 
Winchester. On Sunday I preached (necessarily rather 
a long sermon) to a very large congregation, and there 
were many communicants. After church I sat and prayed 
with the dear old Archdeacon [Jacob], and after the after- 
noon service I confirmed some boys who had been on the 
sick-list when I held my confirmation in the College. . . . 
On Monday morning I administered Holy Communion to 
the Archdeacon. He is very feeble ; but his pulse is firm 
and fairly strong, and his hands are warm. He is full of 


goodness and faith as ever. I had rather a tiring day 
yesterday, having to go down to Southampton to con- 
secrate Northam Church. The weather was very wet and 
unpleasant. This is a very heavy week, for to-morrow I 
have to open Kingsworthy Church ; on Friday S. P. G.; 
two meetings at Southampton, where temperance and 
other novelties have shelved old societies and old work ; 
and on Sunday I have to preach at Peper-Harow for the 
opening of a new organ. I generally avoid organs, if I 
can ; but Lord Midleton is a very kind neighbour, and 
was Barry's patron, and I did not like to refuse. But this 
is a bad preparation for next week, the Ordination 

Archdeacon Jacob died on December 21st, 1884; and 
the Bishop took his funeral at Crawley, in the midst of 
a crowd of old friends and parishioners. 

Next year, on April 30th, Bishop Harold Browne saw 
the close of one of the most anxious of all his tasks. In 
the Jerusalem Chamber at Westminster the Old Testament 
Revisers met that day to present copies of their completed 
work to the President of the Upper and the Prolocutor of 
the Lower Houses of Convocation. The Bishop, as chair- 
man of the Revising Committee, gave a brief address on the 
course of their labours. They had begun on May 6th, 1870, 
sitting without a serious break for nearly fifteen years. Of 
the sixteen original members, only six saw the completion 
of the task. They had been authorised to invite the help 
of any, of whatever nation or religious body, who were 
learned in the Scriptures ; they had done so with great 
advantage. They had hoped in vain for the aid of Cardinal 
Newman ; but the Roman Church could not take part. 
Bishop Thirlwall had been their first chairman, and when 
he was taken away. Bishop Harold Browne had succeeded 
him (with exception of a period of ill-health) down to the 
end. He had been brought back to the work at the urgent 
request of the Bishop of Peterborough, in order that he 


might have the chief hand in drawing up the important 
preface to the new version. The Bishop writes thus early 
in July 1884: — 

" I took the chair for the last time. We finished the 
preface, putting the final touch to the whole work. We 
gave God thanks, and I finally dismissed the company, 
which has worked now for fourteen years, with the blessing. 
I feel it a great privilege to be accepted as the Chairman 
of so learned a body, engaged on so great a work ; though 
of late I have been able to do so little of it. I think we 
shall come before the Church with a much more conserva- 
tive dress than the New Testament company. Our work 
has necessarily been of a different character from theirs, and 
we have been less daring." 

The result of their eighty-five sessions, each of which 
usually lasted nine days, has been in the main a great gain. 
The beauty of the Authorised Version has been kept ; altera- 
tions are judicious and conservative ; the power of adverse 
criticism is greatly lessened. It is a formidable thing to 
criticise on a basis of Hebrew, in face of some of the best 
Hebraists in Europe ; consequently, the Old Testament 
Revised Version has been treated with far greater respect 
than fell to the share of the New Testament, of which 
every one who knew a little classical Greek deemed him 
self to be a competent judge. The Old Testament 
Revision is a great and valuable help towards the under- 
standing of the Bible in English. 

In this year, his tender feeling for the afflicted made 
him listen to the appeals of the deaf and dumb in his 
diocese ; and he ordained as Deacon Mr. R. A. Pearce, a 
deaf mute, who for some years had been a lay-agent among 
his afflicted brethren. The Deaf and Dumb Mission has 
throughout, thanks largely to the energy of Canon Mans- 
field Owen, been one of the most interesting and successful 
of the spiritual agencies of the Hampshire Diocesan Society. 


The Bishop also threw himself warmly into the efforts being 
made for the education of wha^t are sometimes called the 
middle classes : he had supported Canon Sapte's successful 
^heme for a boys* school at Cranleigh, and in June 1885 
took tht lead in the establishment of a similar sqhool for 
girls at Bramley, filso in Surrey. He saw the great inipprt- 
ance of wholesome education for girls, and that it would 
be vain to bar the way to their eager ambition for know- 
ledge ; in ever-swelling numbers they are finding out that 
there are ends in life higher than the ball-room, and that 
knowledge is better company than society. He aimed 
at so directing this eagerness, one of the most beautiful 
and hopeful characteristics of this age, that the gospel of 
Jesus Christ might not be left out of court in education. 
He deemed it needful for the truest and highest develop- 
ment of the human character. 

" It is of vital consequence," he writes, " to future genera- 
tions that education should be conducted on the highest 
principles of refinement, morality, and religion. . . . The 
women of a nation are its earliest and most effective 
teachers, and they specially need to be well taught" 

And this led him also warmly to support the plans 
which, a little later, Mrs. Sumner laid before him for a 
"Mothers' Union." He drew up a circular, which was 
sent to every clergyman in his diocese. 

" I believe the Union," he says, " to be a real help in 
producing a moral and religious tone in the family life of 
our people. Pure and Christian homes, which depend 
much on the mother, are the greatest strength of our 
nation. ... I hope," he adds, at the time of his withdrawal 
from public life, " I shall never cease to remember the 
good work the society is doing, and to pray for a blessing 
upon it" 

This Union, which was made diocesan only in 1887, has 


spread with most amazing rapidity all over the kingdom, 
until now it numbers over seventy thousand members, of 
all ranks and classes, banded together to uphold the 
sanctity of marriage, to arouse in parents more sense of 
their duty to their children, and a greater personal zeal 
for purity and holiness of life. The President appeals to 
all mothers to help forward so good a work, and so " to 
make England's future better than her past" The old 
prelate's blessing has surely done much to strengthen and 
expand this wholesome attempt to encourage the Christian 
bringing up of our children even from the knee. 

It was in this year 1885 that Bishop Harold Browne 
presided over the Church Congress, at Portsmouth, and 
gave us an account of the first beginning of Convocation, 
and of these yearly meetings. 

" I am the only living prelate," he says, ** I am one of 
but three or four of the clergy now living, who sat and 
took part in the Convocation of 1852, after its voice had 
been silent for a century and a quarter. I can well say, 
that we who then met together in small numbers at the 
Jerusalem Chamber rejoiced with trembling. Parliament 
was hostile to us ; public opinion unfavourable ; Church 
and even clerical opinion divided. By i860, however. Con- 
vocation had nearly established its constitutional right to 
meet and debate. Still, there was an anxious questioning 
whether there ought not to be a lay element Difficulties 
were in the way, perhaps happily. Then this expedient 
of Church Congresses was devised. We met first in King's 
College Hall, at Cambridge. The numbers were smaS ; 
the Bishop of the diocese [Turton] too old and feeble to 
preside ; no member of the home-episcopate was with us. 
My old and revered tutor at Eton, Bishop Chapman, alone 
represented the living Bishops. Still, the meeting was a 
success, and was repeated the next year at Oxford. There 
Bishop Wilberforce gave it his presence and encourage- 
ment, and it has since gone on growing and advancing." 

He also addressed the working men at this Congress, 


and showed a surprising knowledge of scientific subjects. 
His characteristic defence of final causes, and of a personal 
Providence, made much impression on his audience. 

On other burning questions he kept an even mind. 
Though not a Home Ruler, he regarded Irish matters 
with sympathy and coolness of judgment, and was very 
unlike those wild opponents of everything Irish whose 
voices are heard among us. He saw the difficulties of his 
fellow-countrymen, and was all for remedial measures. 

"Imperial affairs," he writes in 1886, "are sad indeed. 
I think Lord Salisbury has acted unwisely in declaring 
coercion for Ireland with no measure of healing. England 
has for five hundred and fifty years sinned so heavily 
against Ireland that fifty years of partial repentance cannot 
undo the evil. We have sown the wind and reap the 
whirlwind." And again : " I am not a bigoted politician. 
If Gladstone had proposed what I think a possible Bill, 
I should probably be a Home Ruler now. Even now I 
should probably not vote against a measure of his for 

On the exciting subject of Disestablishment he could 
also speak very calmly. He studied the processes by 
which an independent Church might organise itself so as 
to face the difficulty. " There is no open vision," he cries, 
"yet there are some very cheering symptoms;" and he 
points to the figures of contributions for Church purposes, 
then lately issued, as showing that "the people would 
provide for their churches and clergy, were we despoiled 
of our goods." 

In the summer of 1887 the aged prelate took part in the 
Winchester festivities at the Queen's Jubilee. In a speech 
he then made we see again his love of the middle course, 
and the measure of his hopefulness for his country. Lord 
Tennyson's pessimist poem, he said, had been answered 
by the speech of an optimist Prime Minister ; and " I am 


inclined to take a somewhat middle line between the two." 
He thankfully reviews the moral and social gains of the 
half-century — duelling stamped out; less drunkenness, 
especially in the upper classes ; oaths, which in 1837 had 
been plentiful and part of a gentleman's furniture of 
speech, were now rarely heard in society; less jobbery 
in public life ; less crime and violence. Still, it could be 
shewn that in some other matters we were not better 
than our fathers. Above all, he thought the Church 
evidently stronger and purer than she had been in 1837. 

Near the end of 1887 the Bishop was an honoured guest 
at the consecration of Truro Cathedral, and revisited the 
scenes of his clerical life at Kenwyn. Many old friends 
of those days welcomed him and Mrs. Harold Browne 
warmly, and revived sweet memories of the happy hard- 
jvorking days of forty years before. We feel, however, 
that the thought of failing strength with growing work was 
on him ; he let fall hints that he was willing to stand aside, 
though the entreaties of his many friends had stayed his 
hand. Then, early in 1888, the subject of the severance 
of West Surrey from Winchester came up again ; and he 
told his friends that he was quite willing to withdraw, if 
by so doing he could clear the way for good. As to an 
actual subdivision of the diocese, he spoke strongly against 
a diocese of Southwark ; he thought the Channel Island 
bishopric, in spite of its great unpopularity among the 
islanders, would be the best solution. This, ho^wever, .\yas 
felt to be impossible, and the subject dropped. 

The Bishop, shortly after this, was called on to deal with 
a matter which offered many points of interest to him. 
In the spring of 1888 application had been made to him 
in the matter of the marriage of Prince Oscar of Sweden. 
In February the Swedish Anabassador, Count Piper, had 
consulted the Archbishop of Canterbury. Prir\ce Oscar, 


deeply attached to Miss Ebba Munck, maid of honour to 
the Crown Princess of Sweden, was willing to give up his 
claim to the succession to the Swedish throne, for the sake 
of marrying her ; and as the Queen of Sweden was win- 
tering that year at Bournemouth, they were all most 
anxious that the wedding should take place there. It 
must, however, be solemnised after the Swedish, not the 
English rite, to secure the validity of the marriage in 
Sweden. And here the difficulty arose. The first idea 
was that it might take place in Holy Trinity Church, 
Bournemouth. This, however, was found to be illegal. 

" But if a church not consecrated, and not licensed for 
marriages, could be found, there would be no legal impedi- 
ment Only in this case the registrar must attend the 
ceremony, and it would be, according to English law, a 
proper civil marriage ; it would also, no doubt, if performed 
with Swedish rites, be a proper religious marriage so far 
as the Church of Sweden is concerned." 

Nor would any special license be needed. Now St. 
Stephen's, Bournemouth, was just in this position, neither 
consecrated nor licensed for marriages; and was, with 
permission of the incumbent, available. The Archbishop 
suggested that the assent of the Bishop of the diocese 
ought to be obtained. The Bishop, on being asked, at 
once replied, readily assenting. 

" It will give me great pleasure," he writes, " to sanction 
the use of St Stephen's Church, Bournemouth, for the 
marriage. ... I am very glad that the legal difficulties 
can thus be overcome. I will communicate with the 
incumbent of St Stephen's, who, I trust, will offer no 

Mr. Bennett, the vicar, made no difficulty about it ; and 
the wedding took place there in due time. 

The Bishop rejoiced in it, as significant of a brotherly 


reunion between the Swedish and English Churches, and 
as a step forward in one branch of the work in which 
the Anglo-Continental Society was so patiently engaged. 
And so it was generally regarded. One High Churchman 
wrote to the Bishop thus :— 

" Your Lordship has done much, very much, to help 
forward that reunion of Christians for which our blessed 
Lord so earnestly prayed; and I think that, supposing the 
Swedish orders are not precisely the same with our own 
and those of the rest of the Catholic Church, they, as a 
National Church, are far more likely to seek to obtain 
'regularity' from friendly prelates like your Lordship— a 
consummation devoutly to be wished — than from tiose 
who fail to discriminate between * validity * and * regularity/" 

The Lambeth Conference of 1888 saw a gathering of 
one hundred and forty-five Anglican Bishops ; and Bishop 
Harold Browne, as the senior prelate present, had great 
influence over its deliberations. He was also named 
Chairman of two important Committees, on his favourite 
subjects — the one, on the relations of the Anglican Com- 
munion to Scandinavian and other reformed Episcopal 
bodies, and to other non-Episcopal Churches ; the other, on 
the relations between the English and the Eastern Churches. 
These committees met at Farnham Castle soon after- 
wards. The first of these bodies heard a very interesting 
argument on the validity of the Moravian Episcopate. 
And in the Diocesan Conference at Winchester that 
October, the Bishop referred to the proceedings at Farn- 
ham, He told his hearers that neither Committee had 
touched the subject of reunion with Rome, nor had they 
dealt with the Ritualistic movement ; and he once more 
protested against the Papal claim that every Bishop must 
be a Vicar, not of Christ, but of the See of Rome. 

The gradual diminution of the Bishop's strengfth, and 


the warnings of his physician against railway travelling, 
induced him to apply again to Government for permission 
to have a Suffragan. On the 30th of November, 1888, 
Archdeacon George Sumner, most unselfish and energetic 
of men, was consecrated as Bishop of Guildford. All were 
pleased ; the new Bishop was much beloved, and all were 
thankful that the aged prelate would now be helped in his 
work, and might the longer be spared to rule over us. 
And the happy choice seemed at once to revive his 
strength. At a large meeting, in the following February, 
on behalf of the Diocesan Society, he spoke with as much 
life and power as he had ever shewn. No one would 
have thought that he had had more than one serious 
shock to his constitution, and that he would soon be 
eighty years of age. 

" Every one," says one of those present, " was glad to see 
the Bishop in the chair again, looking well, and proving by 
his admirable address that he had lost nothing of the fair- 
ness, the clear-sightedness, and sweet reasonableness by 
which his episcopal rule had been marked." 

And now there came a fresh call on his powers. Early 
in 1889 the Archbishop of Canterbury summoned him, as 
one of the comprovincial Bishops, to sit as assessor at the 
memorable trial of the saintly Bishop of Lincoln. The 
strange perversity of the Church Association had singled 
Bishop King out for a test case on ritual usages. It was 
as if they had been careful to select the most unfavour- 
able case they could find. He was no mere trifler, but 
a devoted hard-working prelate, who loved Christ well 
enough to pick up the outcast in the street, and who 
cared little about ceremonies, so that Christ's work was 
faithfully done. Happily, the general feeling of Churchmen 
was outraged by this attempt to punish a man who had in 
him so much of his Master's spirit. 


The trial was a triumph for the Primate's sagacity and 
power ; yet at the outset our Bishop was full of anxieties. 
The Archbishop was claiming to sit in judgment on one of 
his comprovincial Bishops, who, in Bishop Harold Browne's 
eyes, was, within his own diocese, of equal authority with 
the Primate ; he feared an attack on the episcopal authority- 
Yet he felt that here was a purely ecclesiastical tribunal, to 
which the accused could conscientiously submit ; this court 
might solve many of the difficulties which clustered round 
this and similar cases of semi-legal, semi-ecclesiastical 
dispute. He doubted whether the Primate could have 
safely summoned any other tribunal ; he thinks that all 
Churchmen should loyally accept its decisions. So he took 
his seat under a deep sense of responsibility, which shewed 
itself in his bearing. 

" Harold Browne's face," says an eye-witness, " was full 
of solemn, earnest, eager sympathy ; he was reverent and 
anxious, and apparently keenly sensitive to the occasion, 
and overwhelmed with its magnitude and import." 

He said himself that " the issue of this trial was of less 
importance than the permanent relation of the Archbishop 
to the Church," a point on which he was ever sensitive 

Before the trial was over his health compelled him to 
withdraw, and the Archbishop summoned to fill his place 
the able prelate destined ere long to succeed him also 
at Winchester, Dr. Thorold, then Bishop of Rochester. 

He has left, in a reply to Canon Lucas and others, who 
had presented an address to him, the substance of his 
views on the subject. 

" I consented to act with the Archbishop," he writes,- 
" in the beginning of the whole affair. I was not, indeed, 
allowed a voice in the judgment which he has given as 
to the constitution of the Court ; but I had an opportunity 
of expressing to him my opinion as to some of his argu- 


ments, before he delivered the judgment. . . . Since that, 
illness obliged me to decline to act as an assessor in future. 
I am not sure that the Archbishop is quite happy at all 
this action and cessation to act On my part. I think, 
therefore, it is my duty to be very guarded in what I now 

do or say 

"I think all this is reason why I should not take any 
steps or give any counsel until the address is presented 
to me. I shall then feel at liberty to reply ; but I should 
not wish it to be known that I was even consulted." 

And then, after receiving the address, he replies as 
follows. It will be seen that he wrote a private letter ta 
his friend Canon Lucas, and also enclosed with it a full 
statement of his own views on the subject 

" Farnham Castle, Feb, Zth, 1890, 

" My dear Canon Lucas,— May I send you the enclosed 
as an answer to yourself and others about the Court of 
the Archbishop? I am satisfied that there was no such 
Court in primitive times — none strictly analogous to it in 
mediaeval times ; but it was the policy of the Tudor princes 
and others after them to play off the Archbishop against 
the Pope on the one hand, and against the Bishops and 
clergy on the other; and I am satisfied that the Court 
now summoned by the Archbishop is a Court acknow- 
ledged by this Church and realm since the time of the 
Revohition. . . . ." 

With this came his formal answer to the signatories of 

the address : — 

'* Farnham Caotle, Feb, Ztk, 1890. 

"My dear Canon Lucas, — I have received through 
you an address from a large number of the clergy of this 
diocese expressing great anxiety in consequence of the 
decision of the Archbishop of Canterbury to try the case 
of the Bishop of Lincoln in a Court presided over by 
himself with the aid of assessors only. I do not think 
I can enter fully into this very important question ; but 
I should like to say, first of all, that I doubt if the Arch- 
bishop could, in the present state of the law, have 


summoned any other tribunal The only clear precedents 
of the last three hundred and fifty years have been those 
of Lucy V. the Bishop of St. David's and the cases subse- 
quent to that, which were dealt with on the same principles. 
The proceedings of Archbishop Tenison in the case of 
Bishop Watson of St. David's were sanctioned and con- 
firmed by all the Courts, civil and ecclesiastical, and they 
have formed a precedent from that time to this. 

"Our own Archbishop at first declined to proceed, 
doubting whether he had any jurisdiction ; but the Privy 
Council decided that he had jurisdiction, and that he 
must proceed. 

" Had he devised any other Court, it is very doubtful 
whether he would have satisfied the requirements of the 
law. Since the thirteenth century we have had no Pro- 
vincial Synod but Convocation, which, not consisting only 
of Bishops, would not be a Court for trying Bishops 
according to either primitive or mediaeval practice or 
precedent. A Court consisting only of Bishops would have 
corresponded with primitive practice ; but I fear that it 
would have wanted authority from Anglican usage, and 
would probably not have been accepted as constitutional 
The Court which has been summoned has at all events 
these advantages. It is a purely spiritual Court, yet it 
cannot but be recognised by the civil power. It is com- 
posed of elements to which no reasonable man can take 
exception ; and the members are able, thoughtful, learned, 
and evenly balanced in religious opinions. 

** There can be no doubt that the Archbishop is actuated 
by an earnest desire to act fairly towards all parties, and, 
if possible, to still the angry passions which are threaten- 
ing not only to turn the Church militant into a Church 
litigant, but to bury all Church life and work in a confused 
ch^os of malice and ungodliness. 

" It is therefore surely our duty to pray earnestly and 
constantly for guidance and blessing on the Court, now that 
no other Court is possible, or could have been in the 
present instance devised. 

" Notwithstanding the very able arguments of the Arch- 
bishop, I may say, with the utmost respect, that I am 
unable to follow His Grace in the opinion that the Court of 
a Metropolitan other than the Synod of the Province, or 
a body of Bishops presided over by but independent of all 
control from the Metropolitan, was legal or possible in the 


early ages of the Church. I agree with you also in holding 
that the primitive practice should always rule the pro- 
ceedings of the Church of England. Though I think this 
tribunal now sitting should be accepted and loyally obeyed 
by all Churchmen in this present distress, yet I concur in 
the opinion expressed by the Ecclesiastical Courts Com- 
mission in 1883, that * in the early Christian Church are 
to be found both principles and precedent for a provision 
that such charges and complaints should be tried by a 
tribunal of comprovincial Bishops.' 

" I hope that hereafter this opinion of the Commissioners, 
which exactly coincides with that expressed by the suc- 
cessive Lambeth Conferences of 1867 and 1878, will one 
day be embodied in a law, which will clear up all difficulties 
in the way of the constitutional and satisfactory trial of 

" I am, my dear Canon Lucas, 

" Ever most truly yours, 

"E. H. WiNTON. 

"Rev. Canon Lucas." 

And with this we may leave the subject of this famous 
trial, as it no farther affected our Bishop's life. 

It was while judgment in it had not yet been given that 
he had one more opportunity of shewing how deeply he 
sympathised with all efforts to bring the Church and the 
people into harmony together, at the consecration of the 
new St Mary's at Portsea. Thanks to the wise energy 
and power of Canon Jacob, and the munificence of Mr. 
W. H. Smith, M.P., that fine building was ready for con- 
secration in October 1889. It is a noble structure, which can 
easily hold two thousand worshippers, and is equally well 
adapted for prayer, or praise, or teaching. 

In the following year took place a scene which can never 
be forgotten by any of those who were present. The 
aged Bishop, still making brave front against growing 
infirmities, completed the fiftieth year of his married life,, 
and celebrated his golden wedding on Waterloo Day, 1890. 
The whole diocese, knowing well that we should not have 



him long, eagerly seized on this opportunity of bearing 
witness to the deep affection and respect felt for him. 
With the proceeds of a general subscription a goblet duly 
inscribed, an illuminated address, and a purse with the 
balance, £727, were presented to the Bishop on July iSth, 
1890. The day should have been June i8th, but an attack 
of illness had put off the reception. When we met him he 
was so far restored that he met the large crowd of friends, 
and made them a long speech of singular vigour and 
clearness. He spoke pleasantly on the old topic of a 
celibate or a married clergy ; glanced at the connection of 
St. Swithun (it was his day) with Famham and Winchester, 
claiming him as builder of the original Castle ; he also paid 
a passing tribute to William of Wykeham. On the same 
day he received an affectionate address from his old friends 
of the Anglo-Continental Society. Her Majesty was 
pleased to send him a message, received with deep emotion 
by the aged and loyal prelate — 

" Pray accept, as well as Mrs. Harold Browne, my best 
wishes for this eventful day, and for your health and 
happiness. V.R." 

Among other incidents of the day was the tea-party given 
to the old people of Farnham, at which he said a few words 
with a pleasing and gentle note of sadness in them, on the 
fifty years of his happy wedded life : — 

" You may have thought," he said, " that my dear wife 
and I have had no troubles, while you have been struggling 
hard for existence. It is not so : during the first seventeen 
or eighteen years of our married life we had sorrow after 
sorrow. Child after child whom we loved was taken from 
us. After that, we have had the great blessing of seeing 
our children grow up in health and strength ; * we have 
seen our children's children and peace upon Israel.' " 

The sum presented to the Bishop was dedicated, as 


people generally thought it might be, to the Deaconess* 
Home at Portsmouth, for the erection of a Refectory, 
with rooms for a chaplain and others, as well as dor- 
mitories. The block was to be called " the Harold Browne 
Building," to perpetuate the honoured name. For the 
good Deaconesses occupied much of his thoughts to the 
end. In the Church Congress of 1890 he moved two 
resolutions on Sisterhoods and Deaconesses ; and in his 
farewell address, a little later, at the Diocesan Conference, 
he once more spoke very warmly in their favour, express- 
ing great regret that deaconesses had been in both west 
and east gradually superseded by sisterhoods. One of 
his last prayers to his friends was that they would not 
let this primitive institution fall into neglect 

After the strain of the golden wedding receptions and 
festivities the Bishop withdrew for a while, and spent a 
tranquil month at Blackmore Vicarage, near Petersfield, 
where he had the privilege of frequent visits from his old 
and valued friend, Lord Selborne, with whom he held 
long talks on many subjects of common interest both in 
Church and State, and rested tranquilly before the final 



WHILE the Bishop of Winchester, at his golden 
wedding, was speaking at considerable length, I 
noticed, that, almost in front of him, a gentleman was 
watching him with much interest and some anxiety. 
Struck by his look, I inquired who it was, and learnt 
that it was the physician in charge of the Bishop's health. 
I therefore took the opportunity, a little later, of introduc- 
ing myself to him, and said that no doubt he had felt 
somewhat relieved when the whole ceremony and speech 
were over. " Yes," he replied, " I well might be, for his 
Lordship might have fallen down dead at any moment" 
The whole machinery of his tall frame was completely 
worn out, and the heart's sound action could no longer 
be depended on. 

He had long been lamenting the gradual loss of his 
more active powers. " I don't feel," he writes from Buxton 
in 1875, "as if I have much more work in me." And in 
1880, "Sloman somewhat encouraged serious reflexions, 
as he looked very grave, and spoke of an escape from 
serious consequences. Of course, I should never be sur- 
prised at things going wrong with me, when I want but 
four months of seventy ; and if I had all the faith I desire, 
I should feel no great wish to live on too long, if it were 
not for those around me, whom I fear I love too welL*^ 



A little later he complained of gouty troubles ; and in 
January 1883 he suffered from a sharp attack of fever, 
which much weakened him, and made him say, " These 
things tell us plainly enough that the veil is thin between 
time and eternity." 

And yet, when Sir Andrew Clark examined him care- 
fully in the summer of 1884 he ended by declaring that 
he knew but one man of his years with so sound a con- 
stitution. " I cannot see," he said, " the chink through 
which his soul will escape." The other man was Mr. 

In 1885, while spending November at the " Eagle Tower," 
Southsea, the Bishop was troubled with much bleeding 
at the nose, and was ordered to keep perfectly quiet, 
and to do nothing for three months. " I must either," he 
says, " think of resignation or of handing over a considerable 
share of my work to a stronger man." Then it was that 
he was much distressed by " Winton's " strong remarks on 
the neglected state of the diocese ; and his son, Mr. 
Harrington G. Browne, wrote in reply : — 

** In the thirty-two years during which he has been a 
Bishop he has given himself very little holiday, and only 
when much needed for his health, as all who know him 
best can testify. Several times he has taken no holiday 
for a whole year." 

The correspondence resulted in a warm and spontaneous 
movement of indignation, which took the form of an 
address from about six hundred of his clergy. Still it 
was clear that his bodily powers were slowly failing. One 
illness after another shook him. In June 1886 he could 
not address his candidates for Orders ; in Scotland, three 
months later, he was laid up at Edinburgh. We see some- 
thing of the struggle in a letter from Dr. Burton, whom 
he ordained in 1888. 


" I shall never forget that day, the quiet church at 
Farnham, and the good Bishop, so ill that he could hardly 
kneel throughout the length of the service: from the 
constant moving of his feet and legs you could see that 
it was pain to him ; and yet I shall never foi^et the ' 
interview with him in his study when all was over; his 
calling for the Greek Testament he had given me, and 
the legend, ravra fuXera' ev roxnoi^ ladi. 

And in a letter to Dr. Burton he touches on one of 
his health difficulties. If he went to the Highlands, which 
suited him best, Mrs. Harold Browne ran a serious risk, 
being liable to throat-troubles in damp air ; whereas if 
he followed her to the climates which suited her, he was 
very liable to be the worse for it. 

" I came here," he says, ** for Mrs. Harold Browne's 
health. The sea is about death to me : I bear it better 
at Bournemouth than elsewhere." 

The zealous help ungrudgingly given by the Bishop of 
Guildford carried him on for a time ; yet we all saw that 
the end could not be very far off; and at his golden 
wedding day, no one would have been surprised had he 
announced his resignation of the See. A month after that 
day he took the requisite steps, and in the diocesan Con- 
ference in the October following made public reference to 
it. He then reviewed the work done during his episcopate ; 
a list of practical matters. He names the Girls' Friendly 
Society, the Mothers' Union, the Great Town's Mission 
at Portsea, the Young Men's Friendly Society, the Guild 
of St. George, the efforts on behalf of St Thomas' 
Home, the establishment of Connaught House for neglected 
girls, the " Watchers and Workers," the Aldershot Ladies' 
Society. The emotion of the Conference and the speeches 
which followed the announcement shewed the Bishop how 
warm was the feeling throughout the diocese. It brought 


out the touching and simple humility of his character. 
Writing soon after to the Dean he says : — 

" Especially I want to tell you how deeply I was touched 
by your words concerning myself at the Conference. I 
could bear the others, for I am not conscious of any 
intentional neglect of duty to my diocese, or of kindness 
to my friends. God has helped me so far. But you 
attributed to me faithfulness not to man only, but to my 
great Master, and I could feel only ashamed and con- 
founded, when my conscience told me how I had neglected 
His calling, been deaf (how often !) to His teachings, and 
especially had been ungrateful for His love. You did not 
mean to abash me, and I am very grateful for your 

Very soon after this, on October nth, 1890, the news- 
papers announced that Dr. Thorold, Bishop of Rochester, 
was to be his successor. The knowledge that an active 
prelate, of well-tried experience in every branch of Church 
work, skilled in the organisation of a diocese, moderate 
and tolerant, and a man of real depth of spiritual life, 
would take his place, must have been a real comfort to 
the aged Bishop as he laid down the burden he had borne 
so long. And yet his heart was full of longings and 
regrets. Nothing but a high sense of duty would have 
made him resign the crozier, and pass away to a quiet life. 

"I am expecting," he writes on November 24th, 1890, 
" to be transplanted from this place, in which I had taken 
deep root, in little less than a fortnight. I can work no 
more for my flock. I trust I may still be able to pray. 
I do not believe in * well-earned retirement' I would 
work on, if I could." 

The last and most fitting public act of the Bishop was 
the Ordination in Winchester Cathedral, on St Thomas' 
Day, 1890. Next day, at Canon Warburton's house in the 
Close, he received two farewell addresses from his clergy, 


and in spite of manifest feebleness, responded briefly, and 
so humbly and touchingly that tears were not far from 
the eyes of all who heard him. 

Other tokens of regret and affection were not wanting ; 
one of these was especially grateful to him, as indeed it well 
might be, for it indicated the way in which he was regarded 
by the very highest in the realm. Her Majesty the Queen 
was graciously pleased to mark her kind feeling towards 
the aged Prelate of her Order of the Garter, by sending 
to him a beautiful reproduction of the jewel he, as 
Prelate, had worn on all important occasions. On March 
27th, 1 89 1, he acknowledged this gracious token of Her 
Majesty's favour in these terms : — 

" Bishop Harold Browne presents his dutiful respects 
to your Majesty, and desires to express his most grateful 
acknowledgment of your Majesty's most kind and thought- 
ful remembrance of him in his retirement in sending him 
the beautiful jewel of the Garter, in imitation of that 
formerly worn by him as Prelate of the Order, and in 
permitting and commanding him to wear it. 

" He can only assure your Majesty that he values it most 
highly, and that he will ever prize it so long as he lives, 
in memory of the illustrious Sovereign whom he has been 
permitted to serve and love, and who never forgets to do 
acts of kindness and speak words of sympathy to all who 
need them." 

To this Her Majesty was pleased to send a reply in her 
own handwriting, the grace and kindness of which is very 
touching : — 

"Balmoral Castle. 
" The Queen thanks Bishop Harold Browne very much 
for his extremely kind letter, and rejoices to hear that he 
is pleased with the little souvenir she has sent him of the 
office he held as Prelate of the Order of the Garter. The 
Queen much regrets that his health no longer permitted 


his remaining at Winchester, but she hopes that the rest 
and quiet he so much needed have been beneficial to him. 

" The Bishop will have grieved at the untoward illness 
of the Bishop of Rochester, which obliges him to abstain 
from all work for so long a time." 

Many other leave-takings sweetened and made more 
touching the farewell to the diocese. Perhaps none was 
more pleasing to the Bishop than the gift of a beautiful 
set of silver furnishings for a writing-table from the in- 
habitants of Farnham, among whom he had lived so long 
and happily. 

At last, the bitter-sweet of parting over, the venerable 
prelate took possession of his new home, Shales, near 
Bitterne, a pleasant country-house a few miles out of 
Southampton. Here in comfort and quiet, among the 
pleasant woods which clothe the gravel-hills, and on 
a delightful rising ground, whence, on clear days, he 
had a distant view of Winchester, the last year of the 
Bishop's long and active life was spent. Here from time 
to time he saw one or another of his old friends, and 
occupied himself with books and letters, and enjoyed the 
constant presence of his beloved wife and daughter, and 
also of his aged sister, who accompanied him thither 
from Farnham. 

It was not till June 17th, 1891, a month after the Bishop 
reached Shales, that the Bishopric of Winchester was 
formally declared vacant, and the arrangements for the 
succession of Bishop Thorold to the See could be begun. 
A little later again, on February 3rd, Convocation met 
as usual at Westminster, and all felt the silent eloquence 
of the vacant chair on the left hand of the Archbishop 
of Canterbury, which had been so long and so well 
filled by the late Bishop of Winchester. The Upper 


House paused a moment to bid farewell to the venerable 
prelate. The Bishop of London moved a resolution in a 
fine speech, filled with a deep sense of the beauty and 
lovableness of his character. The resolution ran thus : — 

" That this House desires to record its sense of the great 
loss sustained not only by the House but by the whole 
Church in the resignation of the Bishop of Winchester, 
whose great learning, devout spirit, wise counsels, invariable 
courtesy and gentleness, have endeared him to all who 
knew him, and caused his episcopate to make a permanent 
impression upon the Church at large." 

And very happy are the words with which Bishop 
Temple closed his speech : — 

" He always gave the impression of a man who was full 
to overflowing of gentleness and love, ready to accept all, 
and ready to bestow on all the tenderness of his own 
nature. And to that should be added the impression that 
he constantly made on all who held converse with him, 
that his was a spirit more than ordinarily devout, that he 
was one who lived in prayer, one to whom the thought 
of his Saviour and his God was ever present, one who to 
me seemed more nearly to approach the character of a 
great saint than almost any other man." 

The resolution was seconded in an admirable speech by 
Bishop Thorold, his successor in the See of Winchester, 
and he too dwelt on his indomitable love of work, his 
affectionate, sympathetic character, deep learning, innate 
modesty and gentleness of bearing ; he emphasised also 
his singular dignity and high breeding. The Bishop of 
Bath and Wells, his old fellow-worker, followed next, and 
finally came the Bishop of Oxford, who seemed to say the 
truest thing of all. 

" He was a man in whose presence it was impossible to 
say an ill-natured thing of any one. From him there was 
a sort of effluence of kindness and goodness, taken in con- 
junction with his great learning, most accurate, careful, and 


loving judgment, which made one fee 
any talk or intercourse even by letter 
and good a man he was." 

With these words our Bishop's put 
end, and the greater world saw him m 
almost to a day, he lived in " tranq 
Keble's November leaves, at Shales, 
and unwearied care of those arounc 
was able for awhile to walk hither j 
grounds, interesting himself in their 
often to-cra^e northward to the point ^ 
between her sheltering hills. Over al 
peace and thankfulness. Those wl 
grateful for this time of still relief, a 
wants with watchful affection. From 
another of his sons would come and ^ 
cheering him greatly, even by the 
Thirlwall Gore Browne, Rector of Far 
reach, and could frequently go over o 
an hour at Shales, and renew the fres 
gratitude to a father so wise, so cons 
A few letters to be written every day, 
to read again, to listen to the fain 
world — here were his occupations a: 
beneath all, as the fit foundation of 
hourly communing with his Heave 
offering of prayer and thanksgiving 
he had loved and served throughou 
So peaceful, so dignified an old ag 
few ; so well-deserved a time of pes 
end free from suffering, save from tl 
powers, was the fitting and merciful < 
honoured life. 

For all this — the loss of life-worn d 


interesting and sometimes all-engrossing work, the conscious- 
ness that his voice could no longer be raised on high for 
the gospel and the Church, — these things were still a trial 
to the aged Bishop, and threw a sadness over these last 
months. One day, the first time that I had been able to 
visit him after his retirement, he talked to me with all his 
old interest and graceful urbanity, as he shewed me his 
new home. Presently he carried me into his library ; there 
I made some commonplace remark about his old friends 
the books, which never grew weary of him or left him. 
To this, with a sad resigned smile, he replied that he sj>ent 
many hours in that room among them, laboriose nihil agendo^ 
as he added with a sigh. For the spirit of active work was 
still strong in him, and he never was reconciled to the stem 
necessity which had bidden him withdraw from it On 
another occasion, after I had sent him a copy of a book on 
the Cathedral Screen, he wrote : — 

" Once my Cathedral Church, — alas ! no longer mine/ I 
no longer belong to it, except that I must still be on the 
bedc-roll of its Bishops, from Birinus through Swithun, 
Wykeham, Andrewes, and Morley, the patron of Ken. 
Though I am buried, I am alive enough to be sensible of 
the privilege of having my unworthy name written for all 
time in that illustrious roll." 

Just a month before his death in December, 1 891, he had 
written a few words to Bishop Maclagan, on his translation 
to the Archbishopric of York ; and in reply to the Arch- 
bishop*s acknowledgment, he sent him the following, which 
was one of the very last letters that he wrote : — 

"Shales, near Bitterne, Hants, 

*' November 2otk, iZ^i. 

"My dear Lord Archbishop, — You did write and 
most kindly in answer to my letter hailing your appoint- 
ment to the Archbishopric. Your letter jiist received is only 


the more welcome to me, though a work of supererogation 
in you. I can well understand the heavy burden of your 
twofold, or rather manifold, work. I pray that you may be 
more and more supplied with the strength which only can 
sustain human weakness. 

" The reports about my health to which you kindly refer 
have been very busy of late. Three months ago I had a 
third paralytic attack, which confined me to bed for a 
fortnight or so. By God's mercy I have gradually recovered 
a good deal of strength, and can move in a bath chair 
about my garden, and sometimes walk two or three hundred 
yards. Of course, I feel that at any time I may be called 
to meet my God, who is happily my Saviour too. But at 
my age I might expect this without warnings, though my 
sister still lives at ninety-four, clear in mind as beautiful 
in soul and body, though apparently just passing through 
the dark valley to, I trust, a bright and blessed awakening 
beyond. All this about myself you will forgive, as you 
asked for it You asked my prayers too, which you always 
have. I should be very thankful for a corner in yours. 
Few men need fhem more than those who have had so 
long a life, so responsible an office, and so much of sin and 
infirmity to deplore. 

" My wife joins me in very kind regards. 

" Always, very affectionately yours, 

"Harold Browne, Bishop." 

It was about this time that, worn out by the three 
successive seizures, he wrote the following letter to a 
friend : " I have been very feeble lately, but now manage 
to get round my garden in a bath chair, hoping that I may 
yet be so far restored as to reach church again." This wish, 
born of his longing once more to taste the joy of an English 
Church service, was never granted. Instead of it came 
that far better and higher call to the Church of God in 
Paradise. Without suffering, in simple confidence on his 
Redeemer's love, he yielded up his soul in the early 
morning of December i8th, 1891. His sister, his life's 
comrade and friend, survived him but nine days, and 
passed peacefully away in her ninety-fifth year. They lie 


side by side in the cemetery of Westend parish, awaiting 
the Great Day. Even more than the pair whom David 
sang, this brother and sister " were lovely and pleasant in 
their lives, and in their deaths they were not divided." 

As the glooms of night rise on us, we turn our faces 
westward, to watch the last message of the day. There, 
in the subtle changes of form and colour, in the silence 
of sundown, we seem to see well-known figures passing 
through the golden light into another clime, in which God's 
waiting saints are at rest. We have had a glimpse of the 
light from heaven's gate ; and, sorrowful yet rejoicing, can 
discern that our faces have caught something of the glow, 
dimly reflecting the brightness of a good man's life. 

Thus passed away the eighty-third in the direct succes- 
sion of the Bishops of Wessex and Winchester. We may 
never know how far the Church owes her sgife passage 
through more than one serious crisis to Bishop Harold 
Browne's wise and temperate counsels and example. 
True, he was no party-leader, and, as the Times newspaper 
wrote, ** lent his name to no heroic measures, and recog^nised 
no short cut to a spiritual Millennium," and consequently 
his episcopate lacked " prominent or emphatic features " ; 
still, he was a happy link between parties, not least, though 
he knew it not, between the vigorous and advancing section 
of High Churchmen and the more thoughtful and earnest 
of the Broad. His keen feeling about social wrongs made 
him an unconscious ally of the modem school of Church 
thought ; the dislike of badges, the refusal to crush out 
opinions he did not like, made him the forerunner of that 
coalition of Church parties which seems to mark our day. 
He felt, as we feel, that in face of a thousand social and 
religious problems, Christians have no call to quarrel. If 
the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the true evangelic message, does 
ever touch the labouring world of our day, it will partly 


be due to Harold Browne's sympathies : his love for justice 
and right was stronger than either his creed or his scheme 
of Church order. One of the newspapers said, at the time 
of his death, that the Church of England was losing one 
of those men who are almost peculiar to her communion. 
Though his political leanings were mainly conservative, 
he never shewed any partisanship, save when he thought 
" the Church in danger." He never said, as many did, 
that in a clergyman conservative politics alone could be 
respectable. In a word, as one of the journals phrased it, 
" he was highly valued by all parties in the Church who 
deprecated the falsehood of extremes," and who, we may 
add, also shrank from the driving-power of enthusiasm and 
strong convictions. 

" He was for many the exemplary instance of the 
* safe ' ecclesiastic. His mind was essentially contemplative, 
satisfied with calm and dispassionate reasoning, and willing 
to hear both sides of a question." 

Perhaps he hardly recognised the deep truth in wise 
Verulam's saying that " there is no excellent beauty that 
hath not some strangeness in the proportion " ; for he 
loved to have all things to fit in with his clear-cut theory 
of the English Church, and shrank from any divergence 
from it, to the right hand or the left. 

Yet there was nothing of indifference about him. 

*' There is a danger," he writes, " that the English Church 
should die of respectability. I confess to having a lingering 
love for respectability. I should choose for myself a 
gentleman-clergy, sober and solemn yet warm and hearty 
services, and sermons full of thought and wisdom, though 
earnest and home-thrusting and spirit-stirring. But we 
want mission-work of all kinds in our towns and alleys, on 
our heaths and hills. Mission chapels, open-air services 
suited to untrained tastes, sermons that tell on the feelings 
without offending the intellect ; above all, the enlisting 


of a much larger army of workers from every class, rich 
and poor, high, middle, and low, to work as subdeacons, 
lay readers, district visitors, deaconesses, mission-women. 
There is nothing in the National Church unfavourable to 
all this, though there may be in the prejudices of her 

What could be fairer? The pressing problems of the 
faith of the masses of our people, and the best ways of 
influencing them, were rarely out of his thoughts. He 
describes his relations with the three chief Church parties 
in his opening address at the Diocesan Conference of 1889, 
when he said : — 

" I have lived a long life, and have seen and known 
leaders of all these parties. In my youth it was my 
privilege to know Simeon, a leader of one section at that 
time ; I knew Keble, who led another section ; and I knew 
F. D. Maurice ; and I can say that I agreed in the main 
points with every one of these great and good men, and 
honoured and loved them. ... I could heartily subscribe 
to the chief tenet of Simeon's school, that Christ is the 
only way of salvation, and that no creature, earthly or 
heavenly, can intervene between the soul of the sinner 
and his Saviour. I can subscribe to Keble's faith in the 
assured presence of Christ in His Sacraments, the commu- 
nion of the individual with his Saviour, the indwelling of 
the Holy Spirit, and the Communion of Saints. I can join 
heartily in the teaching of Maurice that the Eternal Father 
regards with all-embracing love those He has created and 
redeemed. Nay, I doubt not, in the Kingdom of our 
Father we shall see each of these men, unless indeed (as 
Whitfield said of Wesley) they are too near the eternal 
brightness for us to be able to discern them." 

And a month later, referring to some controversy which 
had sprung up on these noble words, he says : — 

" The assertion that I am a High Sacerdotalist is abso- 
lutely untrue. I am quite as much an Evangelical as I 
am a High Churchman. ... I can find no party name by 
which to call myself." 


In these manly utterances he never speaks of himself as 
touched with Broad Church qualities, though they were in 
him just as much as the others. He kept them back 
through fear of those extremer utterances which had 
alarmed him in earlier life. 

His eminent fairness of mind led his friends to put 
implicit confidence in him. It is very striking to read 
among his letters one from Lord Beaconsfield, then Mr. 
Disraeli, asking him to suggest a vicar for Hughenden 

"'Tis a vicarage approaching ;^400 a year, with the 
prettiest house in the world in the park. The duties are 
ample without being excessive. He must be a gentleman, 
accustomed to country life, and married. If his Church 
views resemble your Lordship's, they will represent mine : 
pace the Record." 

At another time he asked the Bishop to send him a list 
of a dozen names of Cambridge men fit for bishoprics, 
deaneries, canonries ; again, he consulted him as to Welsh 
Bishops, saying : — 

" I am examining anxiously the question whether I 
can find a Welshman proper, who, being not greatly 
deficient in other requisites of a Bishop, would have that 
most essential one, an access to the hearts of the people 
through the free and effective use for pastoral purposes of 
their own tongue." 

And it is interesting to note that a little later, in 1 876, 
Mr. Gladstone also wrote to him, craving his advice and 
assistance in the matter of the jappointment to another 
Welsh bishopric ; so that both heads of parties trusted to 
him alike, and looked to him for sound advice. 

In literary matters, also, many appealed to him for help 
or information. He was a frequent referee for the Society 
for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, and often gave 



them sound advice ; though the task sometimes puzzled 
him. In criticising some book submitted to him he 
writes : — " It is difficult to get really able writers to contri- 
bute to the Society's publications, if their hands are too much 
tied. The unutterable dulness of past times almost ruined the 
Society." On one occasion Mr. Gladstone asked him to 
read the proofs of an Article in reply to Reville, who had 
accused the Prime Minister of believing in a primitive 
revelation. " You will tell me," he writes, " whether in this 
portion of my subject I commit myself egregiously to any 
thing false or foolish." In which we can admire equally the 
modesty of the great man and his absolute confidence in 
the Bishop's honesty and fearlessness of judgment 

Though the Bishop's funeral in the bare new cemeter>' 
of Westend parish was kept very quiet, those who were 
there on that bright winter's day felt that one of the best 
of men had passed away. The ceremony shewed the same 
beautiful union of true dignity with simplicity which had 
marked the Bishop's character throughout. "Avhpaaiv 
67ri^i/oi9 ^oo-a yfj Td<l>of: : and though one might have 
wished to treasure our much-loved Bishop's remains under 
the shadow of the Cathedral Church over which he had 
ruled so well, still it was not amiss that he should make his 
grave among his people, and lie- at rest beneath the open 
vault of heaven. 

And as we watched the sad group round the grave, there 
came the thought that this was truly a happy man, whose 
greatness and dignity might pass away, while his essential 
goodness was enshrined for ever in the hearts of that family 
circle devoted to him in life or death. Never was any man 
endowed with more beautiful natural gifts and qualities; 
never did the grace of God and the love of the Saviour do 
more to heighten and give free play to those natural 
qualities. " The greatest of these is charity," the greatest 


and most lasting ; and this was true of him throughout. As 
an old friend said of him, " I cordially agree with you as to 
the marvellous attraction of the Bishop's character, which 
seems to have resulted from his intense and universal love 
of all mankind, combined with the spotlessness of his moral 
character." Great was his indifference to wealth ; he had 
no happiness so great as that of ministering to the wants 
of those who depended on him, pr indeed of any who made 
suit to him. He was the friend and champion of the weak 
and down -trodden ; a warm lover of children, and one who 
did his best for their protection ; they seemed to him to be 
the special charge laid by Christ on His stronger servants. 
He was also devoted to animals, and they to him. There is 
a delightful letter from him to Mrs. Josephine Butler, written 
on the occasion of the death of a favourite dog belonging 
to the Canon her husband ; for he entered with all his 
heart into the friendships between man and beast. He 
used to say that the fidelity, the gleams of a moral sense^ 
the power of amendment and improvement, and the gift 
of being able to look up to a master and take orders 
obediently from him, all indicated possibilities of a future 
life in the dog-world. And he told with great interest 
and sympathy the story of one of his own dogs which, as 
he used to say, became " a converted character." It was 
a creature of bad disposition, with many evil tricks and 
ways. This animal was nursed by an old servant of the 
house through a bad illness with the utmost care and 
affection ; and when the creature recovered, it was found,, 
to the surprise of all, to have "turned over a new leaf" ; it 
had become perfectly sweet-tempered, had forgotten or laid 
aside all tiresome tricks and ways, and was, as they said, 
"altogether another dog." After the animal's death, the 
servant who had been so kind to it seemed inconsolable, 
and Mrs. Harold Browne, by way of cheering her, said to 


her, "But, you know, the Bishop thinks there may be 
another life for animals as well as for men, so that perhaps 
you will see him again " ; and the poor woman, with tears in 
her ^y^s, replied, " I knew it, ma'am, I did ; but I didn't 
think it was right to say so ; but now if the Bishop thinks 
so too, I know it is ail right with the poor beast." And 
Mr. Carlyon tells a charming story about the Bishop's 
tenderness of heart : — 

" Coming out of church at Thorney Abbey after a 
confirmation, I was immediately behind the Bishop, as his 
Chaplain, in a surpliced procession of clergy, when a 
sudden halt brought us all to a standstill. It was only that 
the Bishop saw an earthworm crossing the path, and in 
fear of its being trampled under foot, stooped down, picked 
it up, and laid it tenderly on the grass beside the path ; " 

and not till this had been done could the astonished 
procession move on again. 

It need hardly be said after this, that the Bishop, with 
his excellent power of conversation, drawn from a thousand 
varied sources, his invariable courtesy, and gentleness, and 
high breeding, was an eminently " clubbable " man ; and 
when he had the leisure for it, enjoyed to the full the 
social pleasures of club-life. He was a member of " No- 
body's Club," a very select body, originally founded by 
William Stevens in 1800. It was a gathering of friends, 
who met to dine together thrice a year, in order to 
support " the principles of Religion and Polity which 
guided the Founder's conduct in times of spiritual apathy 
and lukewarmness, and of public restlessness and anarchy." 
This club was in fact a form of reaction against those 
movements, which sprang out of the enlargement of 
the world's eyesight by the French Revolution. The 
Bishop's warnings as to the too rapid advances of his day, 
his fears for the stability of institutions, his despondent 


views as to the religious and political outlook, were doubt- 
less in part due to the influences of this club. He was also 
a member of the Athenseum, which he visited from time 
to time. A sarcastic onlooker speaking of him there 
says : — 

"Nothing ever gave me so vivid an impression of the 
power and beauty of Christianity in moulding life and 
conduct, as the sight of Bishop Harold Browne at the 
Athenaeum, * a light shining in a dark place.' " 

Surely, rather hard on that distinguished literary body ! 
This taste for club life was in the Bishop compatible 
with the simplest and sweetest home life. 

" I always felt," writes one of the distinguished daughters 
of the late Bishop of Carlisle, " that the Bishop's wonder- 
fully happy marriage had much to do with making him 
the man he was. I began to know and love Mrs. Browne 
when I was five years old, and have always had the same 
feeling about her. The Bishop was naturally rather 
delicate, and always worked up to the very extreme of his 
strength, and did not naturally take a very rose-coloured 
view of things ; but Mrs. Browne always made sunshine 
wherever she was. I have often seen him come home so 
weary and fagged, and look quite dejected ; and then her 
lovely thoughtful sunny nature just brought him into 
her sunshine. She always took a hopeful view of things, 
and by entering into his work, not professionally, so 
to speak (as is rather the plan now), but just from her 
sweet wifely sympathy, constantly smoothed rough places 
for him. No one who has stayed for weeks together with 
them, as I have done, can forget the picture of domestic 
peace and concord hallowed by love. And then her spirit 
of fun was so exactly what he needed. When we were 
children, in the Cambridge days, he would take part, as 
well as his wife, in the games that went on in the evenings, 
even to his latter days ; and I have always felt that, great 
and beloved as he was, he would not have been anything 
like the complete man that he was had it not been for her. 
He acknowledged this. Every intonation of his voice shewed 


his loving appreciation and tender feeling for his wife; 
and I remember, in one of his parting speeches at leaving 
Ely, he was so moved as he finished by letting his hand 
just rest on his wife's — * I can only say my greatest help 
has always been at home : ' and every one knew he was 
speaking just the truth." 

And this purity of affection, this crown of Christian 
charity, made itself felt far and wide ; all his friends, even 
his merest acquaintances, confessed the charm of it, and 
knew that here was a true and transparent rendering of 
the Divine influences of the Gospel. What could be 
better than the following letter to Archdeacon Jacob, 
who was a very zealous total abstainer, a man of strong 
convictions, with a plentiful courage to support them ? 

"Farnham Castle, Oct 7.%th, 1883. 

" My dear Archdeacon, — I must write one line to-day, 
though I said something about it yesterday. I have thought 
much of you on this your eightieth birthday. I have not 
drunk your health ; I feared you might think health-drink- 
ing to be vetitum nefas ; but I have asked God's blessing 
on you and yours, specially at that which I hope is an 
acceptable time, in God*s House and at the hour of Holy 
Communion. My unworthy prayers may, I hope, be offered 
for me by Him who is all-worthy, and in whom the Father 
is well pleased. I must ever be grateful to you for all 
your loving help to me during the past ten years of my 
Winton episcopate. Having served for nearly half a cen- 
tury with my predecessors, you might have looked on me 
as an upstart, and looked coldly upon me. But I have 
ever found you the kindest and truest of friends. May it 
please God to preserve you yet to us as long as it can be 
a blessing to you to wait. And when waiting is over, may 
we meet where we need neither wait nor watch. 

** Your ever most affectionate, 

"E. H. Winton." 

Or, taken at hazard, and at very different points of his 
life, what could serve better than the following to shew the 


care he took not to involve his clergy in needless outlay ? 
At the first Ely Diocesan Conference the overflow clergy 
had to be billeted out, some in private houses, some in 
the inns. One rector, from the wilds of Cambridgeshire, 
arriving cold and wet at his hotel, called for "a brandy- 
and-water hot," and, when he asked for his bill the next 
evening, was told there was no bill, and that the Bishop 
defrayed all charges. Thereupon he was struck with terror. 
What if his Bishop's eye were to fall on that " brandy-and- 
water hot"? So he begged the landlord to let him pay 
for the extra, and wipe it out of the account. 

And what could better describe the kindliness and 
simplicity of his behaviour towards his clergy than the 
following, which I have from the clergyman to whom it 
occurred, the Rev. Telford Macdonough? After having 
been disestablished in Ireland, that gentleman undertook 
sole charge work in England. In one case the rector, 
a very old man, non-resident, demanded from him fifty 
pounds for some worn-out furniture in the house. Mr. 
Macdonough, however, had furniture enough of his own, 
and demurred to the charge, declining to buy what he did 
not want. To protect himself he appealed to his Bishop, 
asking him to hear the case and advise him. Thereupon 
Bishop Harold Browne made an appointment to see him 
at a convenient point, in a clergyman's house, at which 
he was staying for some episcopal work. It was a bitterly 
cold day, and the Bishop, feeling the cold, as he always 
did, " sat in the fire," and insisted that the curate should 
also draw his chair close to the blaze ; and there they sat 
with their feet on the fender while Mr. Macdonough told 
his tale, and receivec in reti'rn some very good and kind 
words, with sensible advice. 

** When I rose to take leave, the Bishop expressed his 
regret that the matter would have to end by my taking 


Other work. I was just two years younger than his Lord- 
ship, and said in reply that I had private means, and 
might very soon, being so well advanced in years, retire 
altogether from work. To this the Bishop replied, *Oh! 
do not ! If you cry out for rest, what ought we Bishops 
to do?' 

" It was striking to see that, when the interview was over, 
instead of ringing the bell for the servant, the Bishop rose 
with me, accompanied me to the front door, and stood 
bidding me farewell in the cold breeze, — doing it no doubt 
both to spare trouble to the servants in another man's 
house, and perhaps also as an act of kindly feeling and 
generous sympathy towards an old curate in a moment of 

This lovely gift of sympathy pervaded all the Bishop's 
life, and gave it strength and weakness at once. It made 
his patronage a great trouble to him. He said once that 
he did not valuie his patronage in the least degree, except 
for the opportunity it afforded him of sometimes advancing 
a good man. Nay, his patronage was perhaps the heaviest 
burden he had to bear. He took great pains over it, and 
consulted those immediately around him, shewing himself 
very sensitive as to their opinion. 

The same sensitiveness made him feel the reality of 
another world : coincidences, omens, dreams, ghosts, ever 
seemed to him substantive and true. When he had tidings 
in 1879 of the death of his daughter-in-law, Mrs. Barrington 
Browne, he writes : — 

"It was very remarkable that about two hours after 
her death we were reading in our chapel service in the 
lesson for the day, * The damsel is not dead, but sleepethl 
and next morning we received the telegram, 'Helen fell 
asleep last evening.* A similar coincidence happened to 
me' twenty-two years ago, when my eldest daughter died 
at the age of sixteen. I had to read next morning in our 
family prayers, *Weep not, she is not dead, but sleepeth.* 
The words are engraved on her coped coffin-tomb in 
Trumpington Churchyard." 


He was an admirable teller of a ghost story, just because 
he had so much belief in it all, and had a fellow-feeling 
with the ghost, and felt that in his own case the bound- 
aries between this present life and the larger world around 
might at any moment be overstepped. He delighted in 
the respectable ghosts attached to Famham Castle. 

" When strolling over the Castle," Mr. H. D. Cole writes, 
"the Bishop, pointing up to some winding stairs, said, 
* This is the place where the ghost goes up and down ; 
but we have never seen it, though that room (pointing to one 
door) is my son's bedroom. But then he is a lawyer, and 
is not a bit afraid of it; for ghosts don't like lawyers, 
because they always want to argue the point out with 
them, and a ghost's brains are rather weak ; nor indeed 
do they like curates, because they are sure to ask for 
subscriptions to the parish charities, and that puts a poor 
ghost at a sad disadvantage." 

This was the good Bishop in his more playful and 
domestic life. And in his more public life also the same 
qualities were ever discernible. It was not by a masterful 
will that he governed. " He ruled," says Dr. Millard, " and 
ruled effectually, by the power of men's reverence and 
affection ; " and still more, as Dr. Millard notes in the same 
letter, by his eminent straightforwardness and simplicity of 
aim and character. 

" I always regarded him as without exception the most 
fearless man I knew, simply by virtue of his singleness 
of heart. He could not see more than two courses, a right 
and a wrong, and never supposed the latter possible." 

This was perhaps sometimes modified by his deference 
to the opinions of others, " whether," as Dr. Millard adds, 
" country squires or hereditary ecclesiastics," in which his 
Christian humility led him often to defer to the opinions 
of men far beneath him in power of judgment. 

But the time has come for us to bid farewell to this noble 


Aberdeen, American Bishops at, 

Abei^gwili, visits to, 88 

Abraham, first Bishop of Welling- 
ton, New Zealand, 9 

Act of Uniformity, 435 

Addington, visit to, 453 

Additional Curates Society, 261 

Address from six hundred clergy 
of Winchester diocese, 485 

" Aids to Faith,'* essay on Inspira- 
tion in, 209, 211, 212, 213, 242 

Airy, Professor, 27 

Aitkenite movement, 122 

Albury, 16, 17, 46 

Aldershot Ladies' Association, 486 

Allen, Joseph, Bishop of Ely, 44 

American Episcopal Church, 467 

Anderson, Rose, daughter of Mr., of 
Waverley Abbey, 460 

Andrewes, Lancelot, Bishop of Ely 
and of Winchester, 258, 286, 369, 

Anglican Bishops, gathering of, 445, 

Church in Ireland, 378, 380, 384 

Orders, 412 

Anglo-Continental Society, 182, 228, 
229, 231. 407, 409, 413, 415. 445. 
459. 476. 482 

AngoulCme, Duchess of, 7 

Animals, devotion to, 499 
" Antichrist," a sermon, 1 56, 446, 461 
Apostolical succession, 58, 386 
Archbishop, Court of, for the Lin- 
coln trial, 479, 480, 481 
Archdall, Dr., Master of Emmanuel, 

37, 165 
Archdeaconry of Exeter, 233, 234 
Archdeacons of the Diocese of Ely, 

letters to the, on Dr. Temple's 

appointment, 324 
Archdeacons, the four in the Diocese 

of Ely, 269 
Arches, Court of, 370, 371 
Armstrong, Bishop of Grahamstown, 

Arnold, Dr., headmaster of Rugby, 

8, 38, 39. 286, 448 
'* Articles, Thirty-Nine, Exposition 

of," 81, 85, 462 
Athenaeum Club, 501 
Atkinson, Archdeacon, 449 
Aylesbiuy, sermons at, 196, 363 

the Prebendal House, birth at, 


Baden Powell, Mr., 209 
Baldhu, Incumbent of, 122 
Barnard, Hebrew teacher, 29 
Barnes, Mr. Ralph, Chapter clerk 
of Exeter, 186, 237 




Court of Appeal, Archbishop's, 450 
Cranleigh, boys' school at, 471 
Cuddesdon, Theological College, 

Pavidson, R., Bishop of Rochester, 

Davies, Esther, marriage of, 86 
Deaconesses, 358-62 

Home, Portsmouth, 483 

Deaf and Dumb Mission, 470 
Dean and Chapter, 265 
Degrees, B.A., 28 ; M.A., 36 
Denison, Archdeacon, 143, 291, 

"Diaconate and Lay Agency, 

Thoughts on Ex