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We cannot but think the touching case of Henry Halsall an instance of this, though it does not strike Mr. Keble in that light, who places all the blame on the conduct of the civil authorities. This young soldier, an officer of the Governor's guard, waited upon his clergyman and confessed voluntarily to an undue familiarity with the Governor's housekeeper. The Bishop ordered him to be confined seven days in St. Germain's prison and to perform three Sundays penance; all which was duly done and certified. The Governor then resolved that it was an offence against martial law for Halsall, as one of the garrison, to submit to the censures of an Ecclesiastical Court without his leave—which it does not appear was ever obtained—and he was accordingly tried before a jury, found guilty of that offence, and sentenced to be imprisoned again, and afterwards to run the gauntlet through the garrison, (though that part of the punishment was remitted), and to be.drummed out of it, his hat and shoes off. In the following September he died from a fever contracted in the gaol, aggravated, there is little doubt, by the humiliation he had undergone.
Now nothing could be sadder than all this; but it appears to us rather unfair to saddle the whole odium arising from it upon the punishment ordered by the Governor. Mr. Keble does not pretend that the allegation of a breach of martial law was false, and if not false the Bishop must have been supposed to know the law, and to have known also that he was lending himself to such a breach by punishing Halsall as he did. Was it, then, a judicious exercise of his power (we go no further than to quarrel with his judgment), even allowing him not to have strained the law, to subject Halsall, to an imprisonment which involved a violation of his military duties? It seems reasonable enough that a voluntary withdrawal from those duties, or (which is much the same) a voluntary act which was pretty sure to result, and did result, in a withdrawal from them, for seven days—being virtually a desertion—should constitute a military offence, in which case the Governor would have no option but to animadvert upon it.
On the other hand, in a case, in which a priori we should have expected the Bishop, lwth from his own Church views, and also from the intrinsic merits, to have upheld the ancient discipline and resisted any attempt to undermine it, he surprises us by the ease with which he gave way. And this was on no less an important subject than the dissolubility of marriage. We refer to Hampton's case. This man's wife had been transported for felony, d h id sworn never voluntarily to return to the Island without the id's permission, although the sentence seems to have been only
one of transportation to Jamaica for seven years; whereupon the husband wishing to marry again, coolly petitions the Bishop to give him leave to do so, and the Bishop (we must say, still more coolly) grants him the permission! Mr. Keble evidently feels oppressed by this decision, and seeks to get rid of it (though not in the way we should have thought the most effective and creditable to the Bishop, namely, by admitting that it teas an indiscretion) by supposing the story to be too unlikely to be true; and that the permission attributed to the Bishop must have been a forgery. Yet he takes no exception to the evidence on which it rests; nor does he allege any reason for considering it to be spurious except its improbability. It appears as well authenticated as any other case. Hampton's petition is taken from the Episcopal Registry, so there can be no doubt about it; while the Bishop s answer, ihough not stated to be taken from the records of any court, must be presumed to be as authentic as any other of his MSS. which are printed in the pages of Mr. Keble. The old English law, it is true, had always attributed civil death to a man banished for life, or who went into a monastery and became a monk professed; and though this disability gradually was extended—at least as to general civil contracts—to banishment for a term of years certain, we can remember no instance in which it was held to reach the case of marriage: still less any in which an ecclesiastical court would have pronounced a dissolution a vinculo matrimonii upon it. Suppose, in the present case, the woman had returned to the Island with or even without the lord's permission, what would have been the result? Her disability having ended for all other purposes and in all other respects, was it to continue for the purpose of absolving her from the marriage tie alone? Were life-long obligations to be superseded by a temporary incapacity which had ended? If a sentence of seven years' transportation (which a pardon might have put an end to at any moment) dissolved the tie, why not two years? In short the question was full of anomalies, when closely considered, and there was no end to the difficulties, not to say absurdities, to which Wilson's doctrine might have led.
To return, however, to Halsall's case.* This case only formed part of a system which Bishop Wilson determined to carry out as a whole, and therefore it may be said that he could not, in justice to others or in consistency with himself, have acted otherwise than he did. It is necessary, therefore, to look at that system a little more closely. Great allowance, it must be confessed, should be
* Supra p. 178.
made for Kim in what his enemies called his excesses of church discipline. The Bishop of Man had, as we have seen, peculiar privileges. He had a right to summon a yearly convocation, of his clergy, without licence from the Crown, and to passlaws on spiritual matters, which, with the assent of tLc Tynwald Court, bound the whole island. He presided over the oldest fixed bishopric of the British nation, and a national church, of which Lord Chancellor King had said that 'if the ancient discipline of the Church were lost, it would be found in all its purity in the Isle of Man.' In every parish church there was a throne for him. Above all, he was supported by the attachment, and what Mr. Keble considers the faith, of a people, whom indeed the Reformation had reached, but reached later, and leavened with less of visible change, than any other part of Great Britain. Such was the strength of the Bishop's position, and such the advantages with which he went forth to his mission. And yet, after making full allowaucc for all this, what man with an ordinary knowledge of life— we had almost said what man of common sense, who looked only to a reasonable chance of obtaining his object—would have dealt with the people committed to his charge in such a manner? Granting his sole end to have been the glory of God, the advancement of his Church, and the salvation of the sinner—to force the discipline of the apostolic age upon the libertines and freethinkers of the seventeenth century was surely a Quixotic enterprise, and only escaped instantaneous discomfiture because practised on a simple and ignorant people in a country which few comparatively cared for or thought about. Imagine the Bishop of London dressing up penitents in white sheets and sending them the round of the City churches, attempting to put down the 'great social evil' by dragging offenders up and clown the Thames at the 'boat's tail,' or putting an iron bit into the mouth of a West-End gossip or a Billingsgate scold I Nor can we find that the regime was justified by the result . Everywhere licentiousness was rampant; purity of morals made no progress; clerical as well as lay delinquencies multiplied, amt at the close of the Bishop's long reign appear to have abounded as much as at its commencement; for the discipline ceased, not because it had done its work, but because there was no one to carry it on.
The Ecclesiastical laws of the island at the time of which we write, which laws were, of course, the bounds of Wilsons, authority, consisted (1) Of 145 'breast laws,' t. e. rules of tlie Ecclesiastical Courts of the island, which had originally rested in tradition or custom only, and the application of which had
resided in the 'breast' of the Judge, in the same way as our own Equity Law, before the tyranny of precedents had reached its present formidable height, was said to depend on the conscience •of the Chancellor and the length of his foot. These 'breast' laws had, however, been fixed and made certain by being reduced into writing under the reigns of Sir John Stanley and the Great Earl. They related principally to church dues, wills, and administrations, church officers, criminal matters, prerogative,, ritual, and marriage, and seem to have stood in the same relation to the general body of Manx Church Law that the unwritten immemorial usage of our Anglo-Saxon and Norman ancestors in ecclesiastical affairs, /. <-. our common Ecclesiastical Law, stands in to the body of our own Ecclesiastical Laws. (2.) All the local canons passed in diocesan synods of the island before the Reformation, which were not repugnant to it; to which must be added Dr. Wilson's own Ecclesiastical Constitutions of 1703, •which related principally to 'Confirmation,' the Holy Communion, schools, &c. It should be observed that the Act of Uniformity, and therefore our English Prayer-book, does not bind Man, which was not named in it, and the Bishop has, therefore, power of appointing any occasional prayers. The Manx Church, however, adopted our English liturgy, the only alteration being the very appropriate one for a seafaring population to make, namely, the addition of a suffrage to the Litany, 'That it may please Thee to restore and continue to us the blessings of the sea, so as in due time we may enjoy them;' and they have always adopted the •offertory system. It seems also the better opinion that the canons of 1603 did not bind Man: for they were passed only in a convocation of the province of Canterbury, and did not bind York, •of which Man was made a suffragan in the reign of Henry VIII. But at all events they did not bind the laity of Man.
Under the shelter of the above law and peculiar privileges, Dr. Wilson soon proceeded to launch the great weapons to which he trusted for working the reformation of offenders, Excommuni•cation and Penance.
Hendricks' case formed such an important passage in the Bishop's life, and involved principles of ecclesiastical and civil polity so important to the island, that we must do more than Tefer to it . Mary, wife of John Hendricks of Douglas, was prosecuted at the Chapter Court for adultery with Isaac Allgood, -and sentenced to penance in the usual way. Being 'in contempt of court' for disobeying the sentence, she was, after various admonitions and cautions, excommunicated by the Bishop; and, according to custom, where the party remained obstinate a certain time after excommunication, she was ordered to be committed
to Peel Castle. Of this there was nothing to complain against him; an ancient ordinance, still in force, had said, 'When any is disobedient to the Sumner and Ordinary, then the Ordinary hath used to send for aid to the constable of the castle or of the Peele, who presently ought to send a soldier to bring such offender to the Bishop has prison—and the same soldier to have for his pains of every such offender at the discretion of the Ordinary.' However, she proved restive and appealed to the lord of the Isle, and the bishop being cited to appear in such appeal in London, refused to do so on the ground that the appeal lay not to Lord Derby, but to the Metropolitan See of York, and he accordingly was fined for his non-appearance, and thus the question was distinctly raised whether the civil power had appellate jurisdiction in questions of ecclesiastical cognizance. The point, however, was not judicially decided, for the Earl gave way, and the fine was remitted. There was an Act 33 Henry VIII., c. 21, which appeared to be express upon the point, for it had annexed the diocese of Man to York instead of Canterbury, 'to every effect and purpose according to ,the ecclesiastical law of this realm in all points as Chester was:' and therefore, it was successfully pressed by the Bishop, it must have been intended to give an appellate jurisdiction to York from the Insular Ecclesiastical Court. Yet even this was met on the Earl's part—for what point of law do not legal doctors find conflicting authorities!—by a. clerical law within the Isle, and the opinion of the law officers upon it, that 'any inhabitant finding himself aggrieved by any censure or proceeding in the Spiritual Court may appeal unto the Lord or his Staff of Government (i. e., the governor and council), for it is a prerogative: upon which appeals the temporal may prohibit the spiritual officers from all further proceedings and censures until a different tryal be had.' To this, however, it was open to the Bishop to rejoin, that the clerical law, even though it had all the authority which the Insular Parliament could give it, could not supersede the prior act of the Imperial Parliament which had expressly concerned Man, and which, having carried and united it to \ork, carried with it also the right which another Act, 25 Henry VIII., had given to all Bishops' Courts, and which it seems the better opinion the common ecclesiastical law of the land would, without any statutory enactment, have given to them, namely, an appeal to the Metropolitan.
So much for Excommunication. Dr. Wilson's other arm of the Church was Penance. To stand barelegged and bareheaded in each of the churches during divine service on Sundays, and at