Billeder på siden

and upon the near approach of that dissolution, he was doomed to breathe his last in a disgraceful and dreadful conflict between timidity and piety - between calls upon his prudence from the praise of men, and upon his conscience from the approbation of God — between the impulses of paternal and conjugal affection on one hand, and of self-preservation on the other - between the opposite and irreconcileable interests of time, to his family, and of eternity to his

own soul.

“ To the primate, who proffered his ministry, and to the bishop, who, according to your representation, could not avail himself of it, no appeal can be made, for they are numbered among the dead. But the facts, said to be known by your unnamed informer, could not be wholly unknown to those who were under the same roof with the expiring prelate. Such, I mean, Sir, as personal friends, as near relatives, as chaplains, as domestics, and, perhaps, medical attendants. These men, surely, can bear a direct and decisive testimony to a plain fact. They must have been deeply impressed by such a conversion as you describe. They must have the evidence of their senses, whether or no such conversion ever occurred; and upon the supposition that it did not occur, if such a host of witnesses be set in array in opposition to your anonymous informer, depend upon it, that the attention of all good men will be strongly attracted by this extraordinary case; that their best sympathies will be roused, and that their decision between the veracity of the accuser and the merits of the accused, will be ultimately and completely just. Thus far I have expostulated with you, Sir, upon your charges against a prelate, who, having sunk into the grave, cannot defend himself, and who has been summoned by his Maker to that tribunal where his guilt or his innocence cannot be unknown.

“When such a tale, Sir, as yours, is told to the Protestant and Catholic Church - when it is pointed against such a man as Bishop Hallifax — when it has been three times produced by such a writer as Dr. Milner — when it is inserted in a work, upon which you seem to have employed the whole strength of your vigorous and well-cultivated mind when, if suffered to pass without refutation, it may expose the memory of a learned English prelate to infamy among Romanists for cowardice, among Protestants for apostacy, and among both for duplicity — when that infamy, by the wide circulation of a book recommended by your name, may extend to foreign countries, and continue through distant generations when your statement may lead to consequences so afflictive to a widow and other surviving relatives, and so alarming to every enlightened and conscientious member of the church of England; awful, indeed, Sir, must be your responsibility unto God and unto man, for the truth of your deliberate and reiterated assertions.

“ Pleased I was, reverend Sir, with your caution, humility, and candour, when you say, Far be it from me, and every other Catholic, to deal damnation on any person in particular !! And surely, Sir, with these praise-worthy qualities, as exercised towards your fellow-creatures in the momentous concerns of a world to come, you will not disdain to blend a wary and delicate regard for the character and honourable interests of individuals in the present world, where you participate with them in the fallibility and infirmities of our common nature.

« Equally pleased, Sir, I was, with a note to your address to the very learned and truly exemplary Bishop of St. David's, where you say of yourself, • The writer is far from claiming inerrancy; but he should despise himself if he knowingly published any falsehood, or hesitated to retract any one that he was proved to have fallen into.' i“ Pardon me, Sir, for telling you, unreservedly, that, upon the present occasion, your character here, and, in some measure, your salvation hereafter, are interested in your speedy, honest, and earnest endeavours to redeem the pledge, which, in the foregoing words, you have given to every Christian reader of every denomination. It is your

bounden duty, Sir, to examine strictly, and to communicate fully, the grounds of that probability which led you to believe, and, believing, to publish, that Bishop Hallifax died a Catholic.

“ It is your bounden duty, to unfold all the circumstances of name and credibility in that informer, whose authority you declare to be so good as to warrant you in telling a Protestant public, that a Protestant Bishop, and a distinguished advocate of Protestantism, when he found himself upon his death-bed, refused the proffered ministry of the primate, expressed a great wish to die a Catholic; and that, being urged to satisfy his conscience, he exclaimed, — what, then, will become of my lady and my children ?"

“ It is your bounden duty, without the smallest reservation, and in the most unequivocal terms, to explain the nature and extent of those reasons which you thought sufficient to justify you in affirming, that a late Warburtonian Lecturer (Bishop Hallifax), upon his death-bed, lamented that he could not, like Luther, threaten to unsay all that he had said against the pope; like Melancthon, lament that Protestants had renounced him; or like a Beza, was unable to negotiate, not, indeed, for returning to the pope, but for announcing to him the conversion of an English Bishop to the church of Rome.”

Dr. Milner having, in the same work, attacked the present venerable Dean of Winchester, whom he calls the second Luther, and of whose sincerity in his profession of Protestant principles he ventures to insinuate a doubt, Dr. Parr notices these passages with indignant contempt, and says, in language extremely pointed:

“ Dr. Milner, I have not presumed to hold you up to the scorn and abhorrence of Protestants, nor to let loose upon you the hideous appellations of bigoted controvertist, falsifier, calumniator, incendiary, persecutor, a modern Bonner, and an English Malagrida. I have treated you, Sir, with the courtesy which is due to a Roman Catholic dignitary, who professes to teach the religion of a meek, lowly, and benevolent Redeemer ; to have received, in a special manner, his legitimate ordination and divine mission in a direct succession from the apostolic age; and to plead the cause of that only true church, which exclusively lays claim to unity, to sanctity, to catholicity, to apostolicity, and to the visible protection of

the Omnipotent, in a series of miraculous interpositions, vouchsafed for the illustration of that church, through the long space of eighteen centuries. But if the English ecclesiastic, whose private conversation you have confessedly divulged, should, in reality, not be the contemptible and execrable miscreant, which a modern Luther, according to your delineation of his prototype, must be, then, Sir, I leave it with yourself to find a proper name for that writer, who, in the nineteenth century, and in a civilized country, should present to his readers, Catholic or Protestant, such a portraiture as you have exhibited of such an ecclesiastic as Dr. Rennell.”

One of the most material of the Doctor's intended labours, was a memoir announced in a letter to the conductor of the Gentleman's Magazine, bearing the date of May 7, 1814:

My enlightened and sound-hearted friend; I much thank you for sending me the “History of Bosworth Field,” and for adding, by an eighth volume, to the entertaining, instructive, and interesting information which I received from the former parts of the work. * All scholars, all men of science, all lovers of their country, and all admirers of intellectual and morå.0 rellence, owe the tribute of their praise to your alili.ce juugment, impartiality, and candour, in such an undertaking.

“ I hope that you mean to find a place for Robert Sumner, the master of Sir William Jones and my own, at Harrow, the friend off Samuel Johnson, and a man whose erudition, taste, and sagacity, have

long induced me to rank him among the ornaments of our literature. He published only one sermon, which in point of Latinity equals any composition from the pen of any one of our countrymen in the last century. I can furnish you with some materials.

“I am glad to find that you have engraved the View of the Cathedrals t, and I should be transported with joy, if, for the honour of the Protestant cause and of the established church, the parliament would vote twenty millions for erecting a

* Nichols's Literary Anecdotes.
+ The ground-plan of the seven largest temples in Europe.

sacred edifice, which in magnitude and grandeur should surpass St. Peter's! Though an obscure country parson, I should contribute two or three hundred pounds on such an occasion.

Eginton tells me, that before Whitsunday he will send me three painted windows for the east end of the chancel", and my anxious hope is, that before the end of the year, he will complete what remains to be done for the south and north sides.”

That Dr. Parr was heartily engaged in the undertaking alluded to, will appear by the following extracts from his familiar letters to the same correspondent:

“ Hatton, Oct. 14, 1814. “ My enlightened, truly-honest, abil much respected

Friend, Though recovering slowly from a dangerous carly Auncle in my left arm, and afflicted sorely with inflamma Ation and tumour from a violent erysipelas, which torments re ne day and night, I am anxious to answer your sensible let#hter

. Brian, the master of Harrow, was a fellow of King's Collieege, and is not the same person by whom was

IR I think that the editor was of Oxford, and his name was spelt with a y, whereas the Harrow Brian used an i: and this I I know, because I was very well acquainted with his widow, and his very ingenious daughter. The Christian name of the editor is Augustus, and that of the Harrow master was Thomas, and this very morning I had occasion to write to Lord Northwick, a governor of Harrow school, and also to Dr. Butler, the master, in order to obtain some intelligence abodit the succession of masters from Brian to Butler. I am waiting, also, for information from a friend who lives near Eton, and whom I have commissioned to examine the parochial register of Windsor, and to obtain leave from the Provost of Eton

Of Hatton church, of which at Dr. Parr's decease scarcely a window re. mained unadorned by stained glass. Eginton's first works there were, the Crucifixion St. Peter and St. Paul; Archbishops Cranmer and Tillotson, &c.

« ForrigeFortsæt »