21 FEBRUARY 1885, Page 14


[TO THE EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR:. _I SIR,—The recent Episcopal appointments have received less notice than they deserve, in consequence, no doubt, of the pressure of foreign affairs, or possibly because those whom they may be supposed to represent have been silent. No doubt the Prime Minister intended to deal out an instalment of justice to a school of thought with which he has, as is well known, no personal sympathy. But I venture to assure him, through your columns, that, in the opinion of many of us, the estimable clergymen whom he has selected for unexpected distinction can by no means be regarded as the kind of men whom we think ought to be raised to the Bench in these times. We want now prelates who can compel respect, to whom the Clergy of all schools can look up as men of acknowledged scholarship and general acquirements. Such men can easily be found in the Evangelical ranks without fishing-up amiable nobodies of small academic distinction, and with no reputation for learning or knowledge of men. As a Cambridge man, I have no hesitation in adding that the appointments to which I refer do no justice to our neglected University. On the contrary, they are regarded by not a few with feelings of anything but satisfaction. Far abler men are passed over, and we are supposed to be adequately represented by the decent debility of gentle poetasters like Bishop Biekersteth !

Mr. Gladstone seems to think that the type cf Bishop to steer the Church he once loved through the stormy time which is close upon us is that afforded by timid orthodoxy or feeble respectability ; while profound learning and high university distinction, if combined with vigour and independence of mind, are absolute disqualifications. ./Eneas Sylvias, as we have been lately reminded, has wisely told us,—" Dignitatibus dandos esse viros, non dignitates hominibus ;" but Mr. Gladstone seems to have adopted the exact opposite of this admirable apothegm.—

I am, Sir, &c., F. GELL.