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who, without a murmur or a sigh for the disappointment, and
-with a constitution as deeply shattered as that of Bishop Watson, continued to benefit his church and country to the end of his life. If ambition and rapacity, when carried to such extravagant lengths, were not things too serious to be laughed at, who could command his muscles at the absurdity of a man, who leaves his native village a poor scholar, and eats his own heart for the rest of his days because he only returns to it Bishop of Landaff! who sets out with three hundred pounds, and scarcely thinks one hundred thousand an adequate provision for his family!
But, as this fact of a non-translation is not only the great source of all the obloquy and abuse poured out on kings, queens and ministers in the present work, but the great theme and topic of declamation for his party, we shall take leave to enter somewhat at large into the merits of the case.
The patron of several benefices presents a clergyman to one of the poorest among them, on which it so happens that there is no parsonage-house, though a residence might easily be obtained. But upon this plea the incumbent almost entirely neglects the concerns of his parish, excepting when an opportunity presents itself of thwarting the patron's interest and inclinations in the vestry, which he is sure to seize with eagerness. He is also possessed of another lucrative office, which, like the first, he has converted into a sinecure, and having a private estate, resides wholly upon the last. A domestic calamity takes place in his patron's family, which this gentleman converts into an occasion of fomenting domestic animosities, and then takes it extremely ill that he has not the choice of every benefice in the family as it becomes vacant. We would ask now, whether, in the common usage of the world, a patron would not be justified in repeated pretentions? And where is the difference between such a case and Bishop Watson's claims upon the crown, coupled with the grounds of their rejection?
But here, it has been said, was an instance of peculiar and unexampled merits in the cause of religion, to which the bishop in question has rendered more eminent services than any or all of his brethren. Let it be understood that these peculiar and unexampled merits consist in the production of two pamphlets, each it is allowed useful and excellent in its way. But most things may be taken by two handles; and if our author and his disappointed advocates ground upon these short productions of a very powerful pen a claim to one of the more opulent or more exalted dignities of the church, we see the case in a very different, or rather opposite point of view. Let it be remembered, that some years before the publication of the former of these, their author had been in the enjoyment ment of two thousand pounds per annum from the church, for which lie had done absolutely nothing; and for which he was the first person who had done nothing. Now the question really is, not whether these productions deserved any additional recompense, but whether they were to be considered as any thing like an adequate compensation for all the neglected duties of a bishopric and a professorship. Considered in this light, we really think that no author upon earth was ever so well paid for such a service.
A few observations on our author's vaunted independence in parliament, together with the supposed demands usually made on his brethren in the exercise of their legislative office, and we have done.
There is surely some difference between independence and defiance; and so far is decent and dignified independence from being discountenanced in the episcopal order with respect to their conduct in parliament, that a busy, officious, loquacious interference on the side of ministers is never, we believe, w ell received. From that venerable body a becoming reserve, a comparative indifference, excepting on certain momentous questions of church polity, is rather expected than the contrary. But it is expected (we are told) of the whole body,that they vole with the court. Of some surely who have nothing to wish or to wait for, and who are, consequently, in the strictest sense, independent, this might be expected in vain were they not governed by a better principle than obsequiousness. Others again, and often those who wanted promotion most, have devoted and do devote their lives to the care of their dioceses at a distance from the business of parliament, and yet are not discountenanced by a court. Perhaps, too, a wise and discerning minister might be aware of the consequences which might follow the unwary step of rendering a man of our prelate's temper too independent. If Watson, bishop of Landaff, was factious and insolent, what might not Watson, archbishop of Canterbury, or even bishop of Durham, have become? To make him primate of Ireland would have been almost equal to the madness of casting a firebrand into a barrel of gunpowder. We have already shewn some points of resemblance betwixt Burnet and the late bishop of Landaff, betwixt one whig and another: as many, perhaps, remain tp be exhibited betwixt the latter and Swift, a whig and tory. Though clergymen, the hearts and heads of both were absorbed in politics; both affected the same rude and offensive familiarity with the great; both saw, in early life, the fall of those respective administrations to which they were attached; both spent the rest of their days in libelling, or in embarrassing those which followed; and both sunk alike into moody malignity, which the poetical genius of Swift, and his talent of expressing himself with unparalleled severity in : verse, verse, at length exasperated into madness. From this last and most deplorable calamity our prelate was happily exempt; but this is the only happiness which we can predicate of his temper and understanding in the decline of his days, and the extinction of his influence. With his domestic, or social qualities, we have no concern. It is our office to pronounce upon the evidence now before us—on his own intrepid and faithful exhibition of himself; and sorry we are to say, that in point of self-ignorance, vanity, rancour, and disappointed ambition, united with great original abilities, our country, more various in its combinations of intellect and temper than any other, has produced nothing similat or second to it since the example of Swift; and for the quiet of this church and state, or rather for the sake of human nature, we sincerely and devoutly wish that it may never be our lot to animadvert upon a third.
In the citation from Mr. Bentham's admirable orthoeplcal work, p. 133, for Sir Samuel of RomiU; read Sir Samuel de Bomilly.
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