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CONCERNING the ecclesiastical advocate's character and duties, it will be my business to speak, in a following section of this performance. The matters, which I am about to relate, are, however, such as to call, even in this place, for a brief remark, as well on the nature of his office, as on the right, and also on the actual mode of admission, to it.
That branch of law and government, exercised, in union with the state's temporal power, by the church of England, is styled SPIRITUAL JURISDICTION. Its principal officiating ministers, appointed by the laws and ordinances of our national church, are,—First, judges, who preside in that church's judicial courts, having their seat, as the representatives therein of the archbishops and bishops, assigned them by its canons ;-Secondly, advocates, having their place prescribed, and their duties ordered, by the same canons ;-and, Thirdly, proctors, who, being the attornies of the court, are, in like manner with the judges and advocates, subjected to the canon law, as the orderer of their duties; and, together with those superior spiritual officers, secured also by that law, and by different Acts of Parliament, in the enjoyment of their rights and privileges. These several ecclesiastical ministers are, in virtue of their office, styled SPIRITUAL PERSONS ;* the courts wherein, under the church's governance, their powers are exercised, SPIRITUAL COURTs; and the laws, which they there administer, have, by Lord Coke, been called, The King's Ecclesiastical Laws of England.
* SPIRITUAL-not temporal; relating to the things of heaven; ecclesiastical.
Place man in some public society, civil or spiritual.-HOOKER.
Thou art reverend,
Touching the relation which subsists between the spiritual judge and the spiritual advocate, it may, for the present, suffice to instance its analogy to that of the judge and the counsel in the courts of common law. In abatement of which analogy, regard must yet be had to the necessary absence of a jury from these courts of civil and canon law, to the private manner in which the evidence is taken in them, to the accession of power and influence thence arising to the judge, and to the increased solemnity and importance of the advocate's duty, charged, as he is, to supply the jury's place, by preventing, or by counteracting, any prejudice or misconception which may exist in the judge's mind. To these solemn functions of his “ high and important public office," the church herself seems to have had an eye, when declaring, as she in her canons does, the advocate “ The champion of justice,” and “ The patron of the cause.” The aptness of which canonical phraseology will become still more manifest, if we attend to the extreme severity of the punishments inflicted in those criminal courts, which are the scene of his high and important public duties; insomuch, that to be put into a spiritual court, and to be ruined, are, in common and familiar parlance, used as expressions having a synonymous import.
The actual means of admission into this spiritual office are, by a petition to the Archbishop of Canterbury, accompanied with a certificate of the candidate's canonical qualification. In compliance with which formal petition, the Archbishop of Canterbury issues his fiat, or order, to his vicar-general, (the spiritual judge) for the making out, in his office, of the advocate's commission. If, from the following narrative, it shall appear that the vicar-general not only makes out that commission, but directs likewise the Archbishop's judgment concerning the right, or the fitness, of the candidate to claim, or to hold the same; I must then regard it as proved, that the judge, in these public courts of spiritual justice, possesses a very improper influence and control over an office, meant as the constitutional counterpoise to that which he himself holds.
The authority thus exercised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, must, I conceive, be vested in his Grace, according to one or other of the three following forms : either by fixed and predetermined laws, and to be administered under the conditions therein prescribed; or, secondly, as a duty to be discharged agreeably to the dictates of his own metropolitan judgınent, deciding discretionally* of the fitness or unfitness of the candidate for this canonical office; or, lastly, the appointment to “ this high and important public office” must lie altogether at his Grace's option; in which case, the Archbishop may, undoubtedly, , both put in, and put out, whomsoever he pleases, precisely as he does his major-domo, butler, or any other servant of his household. If it be'according to either of the two first-mentioned modes of admission, that the Most Reverend
* Discretio est discernere per legem quid sit ustum.-LORD COKE.
Primate fulfils his metropolitan trust, I shall then prove myself to have been legally entitled to his fiat; and my commission, made out in pursuance of that fiat, to have been unlawfully destroyed. Should I further succeed in evincing this important branch of his Grace's high ecclesiastical office and dignity to be de jure governed even by the first of those two mandatory forms, and regulated by the existing laws; and, should it also be made to appear, that the Archbishop does execute the same neither in compliance with the first, nor with the second, -nor is allowed to follow even the last, and lowest, of the above-cited rules of action, in admitting the candidates for this ecclesiastical office; having, then, accomplished the object both of the facts stated, and of the reasonings urged, in this performance;-CONCERNING those ministers of the church who govern her councils in his Grace's name, I shall say, in the prophet's words, and in the church's name, -They have reigned, but not by me; they have set a seignory over themselves, but I knew nothing of it.
Having, by eleven years of academic education, in the University of Cambridge, acquired the degree of Doctor in Civil Law, I applied to the Registrar of that university, early in the year 1805, for the certificate of such my canonical qualification for the office of an Ecclesiastical Advocate. This certificate, together with my petition for admission to that office, I addressed, in the usual form, to His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. His Grace was, consequently, pleased to issue his metropolitan fiat, in pursuance of which my ecclesiastical commission was duly made out in the office of his vicar-general, Sir W. Scott, and sealed with his official seal. Nothing further was wanting but the formal ceremony of admission in the court of Arches.
On the day preceding the commencement of Easter term, in the abovementioned year, I therefore waited on Sir. W. Wynne, the dean of the Arches, for the
purpose of acquainting him, as is usually done, with my intention to take my seat as an advocate of that court on the following day. Sir William was, however, pleased to inform me, that I could not be so admitted; it having been intimated to him that I had formerly taken the orders of a deacon, and my admission being, consequently, forbidden by the canons of the church. I replied to the learned Dean, by stating that, although it was true I had taken those orders, I yet could not believe myself to be disqualified thereby from exercising the canonical profession of an advocate, for which I had fitted myself in the manner prescribed by the church's laws and canons. Sir William then repeated his assertion, declaring my admission to be expressly forbidden by the canons of the church.
Being convinced that the learned and spiritual judge's assertion was unfounded, I determined to wait on the Archbishop of Canterbury, and lay my complaint before his Grace. For this purpose, I availed myself of the offer of an introduction to the Most Reverend Primate, made me by my friend, the Reverend Mr. Greene, of Marlingford, in Norfolk. 'That gentleman, having been formerly a fellow-student with the Archbishop, at Emanuel college, and having also, lately, as one of the clergy of his diocese, been in habits of intercourse with his Grace, was so kind as to accompany me in my visit to Lambeth. During this, my first, interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury, at which Mr. Greene was present, his Grace was pleased to say, That he had been informed of the objection raised to my admission; stating it also to be one which he himself should not have foreseen. After having further slightly remarked on the novelty of his own situation, (his Grace had recently been promoted to the primacy) the Archbishop recommended it to ine, that I should see and converse with Sir W. Scott on the subject.
I accordingly, the next day, waited on the judge of the Admiralty, whom I, however, was not able to see at that time. Calling, therefore, again on the dean of the Arches, I acquainted him with the wish expressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, that I should state the matter to Sir W. Scott. A short conversation then took place, in the course of which Sir William declared the objection already urged by him to be, in his opinion, insuperable; adding, also, that “they had convinced the Archbishop of Canterbury of the impropriety of my application.” For a means of reconciling the assertion, thus made by the Dean of the Arches, either with that made to me by the Archbishop himself, on the preceding day, or with his Grace's subsequent declarations, and the endeavours used by him to effect my admission, I was, am, and shall ever remain, at a loss.
After the lapse of some few days, during which interval I had more maturely weighed the alleged canonical objection, and had likewise consulted with my friends concerning it, I again waited on Sir W. Scott, and acquainted him withi the instructions. I had received from the Archbishop of Canterbury, to request his opinion on the objection, raised by the Dean of the Arches. To which Sir William replied, by saying that objection was also, in his opinion, insuperable, my admission being certainly forbidden by the canons of the church. I then urged to the judge of the Admiralty, somewhat more at length than I had done to Sir W. Wynne, the reasons which led me to consider the objection as unfounded, and my exclusion as unauthorized by any prohibition derived from the canons. Sir W. Scott did not, however, see fit to cite the prohibitory canon, nor to inform me where it might be found; and I therefore, as a further proof of its non-existence, instanced to him the chancellorships of the different dioceses (whereto I might have added the registerships also) which are still, some of them, held by the clergy. From wlience I inferred, that, if doctors in divinity, beneficed and dignified