[To TRH EDITOR Or THE " SPECTATOR:1
Sts,—My excuse for writing on this subject is that, having worked for over twenty years in a branch of our Church possessing self- government on the lines suggested by the Archbishops' Committee. I can claim to have some experience. Of course theoretical arguments and ideas are interesting, but experience is of more value.
It does not seem to me that your article follows necessarily from what is written by your contributor. With very much of what he writes I am in agreement, though I should like to make one comment. He writes: "The vitalising movement in the Church Which we associate with the name of John Wesley had nothing to do with constitutional reform." But surely it was very much helped and influenced by the practical association of the laity in those very matters in which they were not then considered justified in taking any share, and in which to-day in the Church of England they have no legal or constitutional voice.
But to turn to your article, would it not be better at this stage to discuss the general principle, and not raise objections to that by laying stress on details which can be modified? I have a great deal of sympathy with what you any about the franchise; but it seems to me we need not discuss that till we hove affirmed or rejected the main principle of Church self-government. I cannot see what real objections are to be raised to this principle, except those which. when looked at in the light of experience, can only he termed bogies. I would remind you that we are not here springing upon the world an entirely untried fad of a group of "young men in a hurry," but something which has stood the test in actual working for two or three generations in the larger part of the British Empire. And from experience I simply state that the terrible consequences which loom so large in your vision do not fiad practical expression where self-government is a living reality.
You nee the term "young men in a hurry" for those who are moving in this matter. To discredit a movement it may be good tactics to- refer to its promoters in such a way, especially when we .remember the original context.- But it is as well to remind yeti'
that the "Life and Liberty Movement" exists to press for what has been suggested by the Archbishops Committee. Thin Committee, which contains, amongst others, Lord Selborne, Mr. Balfour, the Bishops of Oxford and Liverpool, Bishop Browne. Sir Lewis Dibdin, Lord Parmoor, Sir R. Williams, can hardly he termed " young men "; and that the work was not done in a hurry is shown by the length of time they deliberated. is the expression quite fair?
Your concluding sentence would make it appear that you had -not quite grasped the suggestions of this movement. These leave the power of Parliament to prevent the abases which you fear entirely untouched. What is new is the setting up of machinery in the Church to legislate for the Church without. taking up the time of Parliament unless it should wish otherwise in any particular cane. In the self-governing Colonial Churches even this safeguard of Parliament does not exist, and l, in twenty years' work in one of these, have never experienced even one instance of what you seem to fear.—I am, Sir, de,
(We should be extremely sorry to be thought unfair to those who are most active in the cause of the " Life and Liberty Move- ment." We more than once acknowledged their earrieetsesa. That the most active leaders are young will not, we Fancy, be denied. We think them in a hurry because they want to reach by n dangerous short cut results that we all deaire. If our corre- spondent will look at our article again, he will see that we dint sot forget the veto of Parliament over the proposed new adminis- tration. But we fear that this veto of a too buoy. Parliament might mean far too little in practice -if ultraelerical Nyman gathered the affairs of the Church into their own hands, ass might happen under a contracted franchise.—En. Spectator.]