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Disconnecting Church and State: Richard Whately’s Ideas in the 1830s

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 June 2017

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Addressing the clergy of his diocese in 1831, Bishop John Kaye of Lincoln spoke frankly. “We cannot be surprised at being told,” he said, “as we often are, that the days [of the established church] are already numbered, and that it is destined to sink…before the irresistible force of public opinion.” A similar warning appeared a few years earlier when, in his provocative little book Church Reform, Edward Berens urged the Church to acknowledge public opinion before it lost the public altogether.

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Copyright © North American Conference on British Studies 2003

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1 Kaye, John, Charge (1831)Google Scholar, in Kaye, W. F. J., ed., The Work of John Kaye, 8 vols. (London, 1888), 7:47.Google Scholar

2 Berens, Edward, Church Reform (n. p., 1828)Google Scholar.

3 Mather, F.C, High Church Prophet. Bishop Samuel Horsley and the Caroline Tradition in the Later Georgian Church (Oxford, 1992), pp. 13940.CrossRefGoogle Scholar Also see Brent, Richard, Liberal Anglican Politics: Whiggery, Religion and Reform, 1830-1841 (Oxford, 1987), pp. 56 Google Scholar, for a discussion of church reform in the context of “the perceived social crisis” of the end of the eighteenth century.

4 Mather, High Church Prophet, ch. 8. Also, Burns, R. A., “The Diocesan Revival in the Church of England, c. 1825-1865” (D. Phil, thesis, University of Oxford, 1990)Google Scholar.

5 Gregory, Jeremy, “Anglicanism and the Arts: religion, culture and politics in the eighteenth century,” in Culture, Politics and Society in Britain, 1660-1800, eds. Black, J. and Gregory, J. (Manchester, 1991), pp. 8485.Google Scholar

6 Yates, Richard, The Church in Danger: a Statement of the Cause, and of the Probable Means of Averting that Danger attempted… (London, 1815)Google Scholar. Also, The Basis of National Welfare: considered in reference chiefly to the Prosperity of Britain, and the Safety of the Church of England (London, 1817).

7 [ Wade, John], The Black Book; or, Corruption Unmasked… (London, 1820), p. 315 Google Scholar.

8 Bebbington, D. W., Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: a History from the 1730s to the 1980s (London, 1989), pp. 6365, 8385 Google Scholar. Also see Hylson-Smith, Kenneth, Evangelicals in the Church of England, 1734-1984 (Edinburgh, 1988), pp. 5153 Google Scholar, and Bloesch, D. G., Essentials of Evangelical Theology, 2 vols. (San Francisco, 1979), 2: ch. 5.Google Scholar

9 Best, Geoffrey, Temporal Pillars: Queen Anne’s Bounty, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and the Church of England (Cambridge, 1964), pp. 7475.Google Scholar

10 Whately, Richard, Letters on the Church (London, 1826), p. 95 Google Scholar.

11 Whately, Richard, Elements of Rhetoric (2nd ed.; London, 1828), pp. xi, xii.Google Scholar

12 There are three major biographies of Richard Whately. The first to appear was John Fitzpatrick’s Memoir of Richard Whately, 2 vols. (London, 1864). Whately’s daughter Elizabeth Jane published The Life and Correspondence of Richard Whately, 2 vols. (London, 1866). The most recent is from Akenson, D. H., A Protestant in Purgatory: Archbishop Whately of Dublin (Hamden, Conn. [n. s. 2] 1981).Google Scholar The Dictionary of National Biography, 20:1334-40 provides the most succinct account of Whately’s career and identifies him as “an independent liberal,” enthusiastic teacher, pioneer of social science, reformer of tertiary education, and seminary training, an anti-evangelical and advocate of civil rights for Dissenters and Jews. The largest single collection of Whately’s papers is now held by the Library of Oriel College, Oxford.

13 Akenson, D. H., Protestant in Purgatory, p. 63.Google Scholar

14 Annan, Noel, The Dons: Mentors, Eccentrics, and Geniuses (Chicago, 1999), pp. 40; 45-46.Google Scholar

15 The Elements of Logic, comprising the Substance of the Article in the Encyclopedia Metropolitana (London, 1826) saw a dozen editions in Whately’s lifetime. The Elements of Rhetoric also saw popular editions (e.g., London, 5th ed., 1836; London, 7th ed., 1846).

16 Mather, High Church Prophet, p. 205.

17 Both editions of Moral Philosophy and the View of Christian Evidences were published in London in 1859. Another edition, Christian Evidences, intended chiefly for the Young, was published in London in 1864.

18 Whately, Richard, Cautions for the Times [no. 22] (London, 1853), p. 393.Google Scholar

19 Gregory, J., “Anglicanism and the Arts,” pp. 8485 Google Scholar.

20 Brose, Olive, Church and Parliament: the Reshaping of the Church of England, 1828-1860 (Stanford, 1959), pp. 36, 39.Google Scholar Brose regards Whately and Blomfield [London] as “good utilitarian bishops” (p. 3).

21 Giustino, David de, “Finding an Archbishop: the Whigs and Richard Whately in 1831,” in Church History 64, 2 (June 1995): 21836 Google Scholar. Also, Chadwick, Owen, The Victorian Church, 2 vols. (London, 1966), 15354 Google Scholar.

22 R[ichard] W[hately] to Hawkins, 25 July 1837, quoted in E. J. Whately, Life and Correspondence, 1:378.

23 Mill, J. S. to Gustave d’Eichthal, 6 December 1831, in the Earlier Letters of J. S. Mill, 1812-1848, ed. Mineka, Francis, 14 vols. (Toronto, 1963), 13:711, 715.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

24 Article 4 of the Act of Union provided: “the four Lords Spiritual of Ireland by rotation of sessions…shall be the number to sit and vote on the part of Ireland in the House of Lords.” Article 8 was more precise: the Primate of Ireland was to sit in the first session, Dublin in the second, Cashel in the third, and Tuam in the fourth. See Akenson, D. H., The Church of Ireland: Ecclesiastical Reform and Revolution, 1800-1885 (New Haven, Conn., 1971), pp. 7273.Google Scholar

25 Brent, Richard (Liberal Anglican Politics, pp. 10809 Google Scholar) may be over-stating the religious indifference of leading Whigs; for another view, see Davis, R. W., “The Whigs and Religious Issues, 1830-1835,” in Davis, R. W. and elmstadter, R.J.H, eds., Religion and Irreligion in Victorian Society (London, 1992)Google Scholar.

26 Gibson, William, Church, State and Society, 1760-1850 (London, 1994), p. 129 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

27 Smith, E. A., The House of Lords in British Politics and Society, 1815-1911 (London, 1992), p. 84.Google Scholar Also, Turberville, A. S., The House of Lords in the Age of Reform (London, 1958), p. 311.Google Scholar

28 Smith, House of Lords, p. 84.

29 Ibid. According to Turberville (House of Lords, pp. 297-98), the bill might have passed, had all the bishops either abstained or voted for it.

30 Chadwick, Victorian Church, 1:25-29; and Best, Temporal Pillars, pp. 245, 272-73.

31 The Times, 12 October 1831.

32 Smith, House of Lords, p. 86.

33 Best, Temporal Pillars, pp. 245, 272-73; also, Cockshut, A. O. J., Anglican Attitudes. A Study of Religious Controversies (London, 1959), pp. 5051.Google Scholar

34 Valéry, E. A., The Last of the Prince Bishops: William Van Mildert and the High Church Movement of the Early Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 1992), pp. 189, 206.Google Scholar

35 Phillpotts’ diatribe against “heretics” and “Arians”: Hansard, 3rd ser., vol. 2 (1832), p. 607. Van Mildret and Phillpotts were certainly among the most aggressive opponents of liberal reforms, but according to Brose (Church and Parliament, p. 60), even they were “far from oblivious to the need for change.”

36 Weston, C. C., English Constitutional Theory and the House of Lords, 1556-1832 (London, 1965), p. 167ff Google Scholar.

37 Ibid., p. 175.

38 Priestley, Joseph, The Essay on the First Principles of Government, in Theological and Miscellaneous Works, ed. Rutt, J. T., 25 vols (London, 18171832), 22:96 and 24:245.Google Scholar

39 Turberville, , House of Lords, p. 313; Hansard, 3rd ser., vol. 8 (1831), pp. 96768.Google Scholar

40 R.W. to Grey, 25 April 1832. Grey Papers, Durham University Library (hereafter cited as GPDUL).

41 Medhurst, K. and Moyser, George, Church and Politics in a Secular Age (Oxford, 1988), p.9.Google Scholar

42 R.W. to Grey, 25 April 1832. GPDUL.

43 William Warburton, Bishop of Gloucester in the eighteenth century, defended the alliance of Church and State as a form of social contract. He thought that the Church, left to itself, had no security against external violence and therefore sought the protection of the State. Warburton, The Alliance between Church and State (3rd ed.; London, 1748), pp. 88ff. See also Cragg, G. R., Reason and Authority in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge, 1964)Google Scholar, ch. 7. Bishop Horsley’s praise for Warburton’s argument can be found in Evans, A. W., Warburton and the Warburtonians (Oxford, 1932), pp. 4647.Google Scholar

44 Arnold, Tilomas, Postscrript on Principles of Church Reform (London, 1833), p. 19.Google Scholar

45 Grey’s journal, undated and unpaginated, probably late June 1832; and Grey to R.W. [September 1832], GPDUL.

46 Weston, English Constitutional Theory, p. 239.

47 R.W. to Grey, 16 September 1831. GPDUL.

48 Whately, E. J., Life and Correspondence, 116871 Google Scholar; and Best, Temporal Pillars, p. 286, n.l.

49 R.W. to Grey, 25 August 1832. GPDUL.

50 Best, Temporal Pillars, p. 277.

51 W, R.., Charge to the Clergy of Dublin and Glandelagh…with a Petition to the House of Lords, praying for a Church Government (London, 1843), p. 27.Google Scholar

52 R.W. to Wellesley, 30 January 1835. British Library Add. MS., 37, 307:355.

53 R.W. to Grey, 19 September 1832. GPDUL.

54 Arnold, Thomas, Miscellaneous Works, ed. Stanley, A. P. (London, 1845; Farnsborough, 1971), p. 316.Google Scholar

55 Anderson, David, A Charge Delivered to the Clergy of the Diocese of Rupert’s Land… (London, 1851), pp.910.Google Scholar

56 Whately, Richard, Errors of Romanism, traced to their Origin in Human Nature (London, 1830), pp. 28284.Google Scholar

57 Thompson, Kenneth A., Bureaucracy and Church Reform (Oxford, 1970), pp. 18, 9899;Google Scholar in a similar vein, Solloway, R. A. has pointed out frelates and People: Ecclesiastical Thought in England, 1783-1852 [London, 1969], p. 228)Google Scholar that Whately, unlike the Whig aristocrats, had little fear of Chartism and socialism; he was more worried about “churchmen like Phillpotts.”

58 London Review, 1, 1 (1829): 78-79.

59 Whately, E. J., Life and Correspondence, 1466; also, Arnold’s agreement in Principles of Church Reform, pp. 5052.Google Scholar

60 See Chadwick, Victorian Church, 1310-11. The idea of Convocation attracted much support, although few persons really knew its history of administrative anomalies. Some clergy petitioned Queen Victoria on her accession, asking for her help to revive Convocation; others worried that it might become too democratic a body and generate factionalism and even “schisms.” See Brown, R., Church and State, p. 97.Google Scholar

61 W, R.., Letters on the Church, p. 141 Google Scholar, Biber, George (Bishop Blomfield and his Times [London, 1857])Google Scholar, was one of many Victorian writers to praise Blomfield’s talents and energy for administration.

62 W, R.., Thoughts on Church Government: being the Substance of a Charge, delivered at the Visitation of the Diocese and Province (London, 1844), appendix.Google Scholar

63 W, R.. to Grey, 19 September 1832 Google Scholar. GPDUL, R.. Also, Speech on the Petition from the Clergy of Kildare, relative to Church Reform… (London, 1833), pp. 4445.Google Scholar

64 R.W. to Grey, 19 September 1832. GPDUL.

65 Chadwick,, Victorian Church, 1:62.

66 Best, Temporal Pillars, p. 278.

67 Mill, J. S., “Aristocracy,” in London Review (1836), 2283306 Google Scholar; and “Of What Use is the House of Lords?” in Westminster Review (1836): 24:47-79. Annual Register (1836), 78:208; Hansard, 3rd ser., vol. 33 (1836), 311-22.

68 Turberville, House of Lords, pp. 317-18; Journals of the House of Commons, 92:59; Hansard, 3rd ser., vol. 36 (1836), 609-33.

69 Henley’s, Plan of Church Reform, 6th ed., “With a Letter to the King” (London, 1832)Google Scholar, saw eight quick editions after it first appeared.

70 Turberville, , House of Lords, p. 307.Google Scholar

71 Gibson, , Church, State and Society, p. 212.Google Scholar

72 Rupp, Gordon, Religion in England, 1688-1791 (Oxford, 1988), p. 315.Google Scholar

73 Chadwick, , Victorian Church, 1135 Google Scholar.

74 Ibid., p. 64.

75 Brown, Robert, Church and State in Modern Britain, 1700-1850 (London, 1991), p. 97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

76 Froude, Tiurrell, “Remarks on Church Discipline,” in Remains, 4 vols. (London and Derby, 185859), 3274.Google Scholar

77 Arnold, , Church Reform, pp. 13340;Google Scholar Coleridge, , On the Constitution of the Church and State according to the Idea of Each (London, 1830).Google Scholar

78 Chadwick, Victorian Church, 1:312.

79 Ibid.

80 London Review, p. 85.

81 Gibson, Tiurrell, Church State and Society, p. 133;Google Scholar Giustino, de, “Finding an Archbishop,” p. 219.Google Scholar

82 Wolffe, John, “Anglicanism,” in Nineteenth-Century Religious Traditions, ed. Paz, D. G. (Westport, Conn., 1995), p. 29.Google Scholar

83 Brent, , Liberal Anglican Politics, p. 41 Google Scholar; Stephenson, A. M. G., The Rise and Decline of English Modernism (London, 1984), pp. 41, 14546 Google Scholar; Chillingworth, H. R., “Archbishop Whately,” in The Modern Churchman 39 (June 1949): 10513.Google Scholar

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