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VICAR-GENERAL OF THE PROVINCE OF CANTERBURY,
MATTERS OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT.
De quibus vos testes aliis esse debetis, de iis ipsi alios testes audietis Cic. Quisquis ille, qualiscumque, sileatur ; quem insignire erempli nonnihil, non insignire humanitatis plurimin
TO THE READER.
From the Archbishop of Canterbury's own lips it was, that Dr. H. received an express assurance of the declaration made to his Grace by his “ proper officers," denying the existence of his (Dr. H.'s) ecclesiastical commission.
The falsehood of that declaration having been afterwards officially and publicly proved, Dr. H. addressed to Sir William Scott a request, to be informed by him, who the
proper officers” were, whose duty it was to report, truly and faithfully, without
or concealment, to the Archbishop of Canterbury, respecting the existence, and the disposal of ecclesiastical commissions, executed, signed, and sealed in his spiritual
The silence of the Vicar-General gave occasion to the more formal statement of that request, in the first of the two following letters.
RIGHT HONOURABLE SIR WILLIAM SCOTT.
by his "
ALTHOUGH my earnest solicitations to the Archbishop of Canterbury, for a judicial and public hearing of my case, have hitherto proved unavailing, and although his Grace has deemed it unadvisable that I should be allowed to defend my lawful claims, either against the unfounded pretensions, set up by your chartered company, or against the practices, whereby, in default of law and justice, those pretensions have been supported—I shall yet make a further effort to obtain that long-sought judicial investigation. And this, more especially, with a view of bringing, in that form, before the public, the circumstances relating to my ecclesiastical commission; which commission, having been made out in your office, and sealed with your official seal, was afterwards kept in concealment, its existence being denied to the Archbishop of Canterbury,
proper officers.” Previously to any farther application to his Grace, I think it my duty to request from you a candid and explicit statement of that transaction of your ecclesiastical office. To a compliance with which request, I conceive myself entitled, on account of the injury projected and done to me thereby. And I, moreover, consider the public also entitled to an explanation of a transaction, relating to the official disposal of an important public instrument:* a transaction, which bears in its present mysterious aspect, such strongly apparent marks of official irregularity-an irregularity, not only trenching very deeply on the veracity and integrity of office, but involving also a violation of the most sacred obligations, human and divine.
As to the character and complexion of those (which must have been the real) motives for the falsehood thus asserted to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and for the deception thereby practised on his Grace by his "proper officers"—the enquiry is not within my present purpose. This being rather to obtain an explanation, if practicable, of a mysterious, than to prosecute an unlawful transaction. Towards the attainment of which object, I shall, therefore, be ready to afford (either personally, or otherwise, as you shall see fit to determine) any facility, it may be in my power to furnish.
Trusting that in the invitation thus respectfully offered to your attention, I shall appear to have given a further proof of that “calmness and moderation,” which were formerly honoured by his Grace the Archbishop's indulgent approval; and awaiting, (at the convenience of your leisure from the multifarious pressure of spiritual concerns, incident to your high and sacred office,) the favour of your reply;
I have the honour to be, Surrey Street,
&c. &c. &c. July 30th, 1808.
* Although the Court of King's Bench will not grant a mandamus to admit to the office of an ecclesiasticat advocate, as it will for admission to all other canonical offices and conditions of a public nature; as, for example, to admit a Prebendary, a Doctor of Divinity, a Bachelor of Arts, an Apparitor-General, a Schoolmaster, a Church-warden, a Parish-clerk, a Singing-man, and a Grave-digger.-Still, as this office is declared to be “ AN HIGH AND IMPORTANT PUBLIC OFFICE," I therefore conceive the commission, giving authority to exercise the same, to be rightly denominated a PUBLIC INSTRUMENT.
Lord Ellenborough, in refusing a rule to shew cause, why a mandamus should not go for admission to this “ HIGH AND IMPORTANT PUBLIC OFFICE," did not assign the reasons which induced the Court so to determine. Neither did his Lordship explain, why a person, legally commissioned to exercise this canonical office, is not as well entitled to the aid of that Court, as though he were suing for admission to the academic condition of a Doctor of Divinity, or to the canonicat office of a Grave-digger. For which offices, or dignities, (or however else they may be designated) a mandamus, must go, if sued for.