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is actually an employment, such as no one who is, or ever has been, a clergyman, (excepting the Archbishop of Canterbury), can any longer be allowed to take part in :- Which being either proved or taken for granted, such spiritual employInent can then be legally and canonically performed by none but carnal and worldly-minded men, such as my spiritual opponents.
The arguments which I have thus far opposed to the plea of the church's honour and dignity, set up (in failure of all legal and canonical authority) for the
hardship, injustice, and oppression,” I am sustaining, have, I trust, been urged with that “calmness and moderation," once so benignly acknowledged by the Archbishop of Canterbury. That cause which was also, at one time, honoured by his Grace's countenance and support, I shall continue to maintain, without losing sight of, however unable to act up to, the following rule of conduct, laid down by one of the most eminent and best-approved of English ethic writers.
Nothing can be great which is not right. Nothing which reason condemns can be suitable to the dignity of the human mind. To be driven, by external motives, from the path which our own heart approves; to give way to any thing but conviction; to suffer the opinion of others to rule our choice, or overpower our resolves, is to submit tamely to the lowest and most ignominious slavery, and to resign the right of directing our lives. The utmost excellence at which humanity can reach, is a constant and determinate pursuit of virtue, without regard to present dangers or advantage; a continual reference of every action to the divine will; an habitual appeal to everlasting justice; and an unvaried elevation of the intellectual eye to the reward which perseverance only can obtain.”
AN ADDRESS TO THE VISITORS
COLLEGE OF DOCTORS OF LAW.
« Not of any humour I have to gainsay the lawful proceedings of any court, (which I reverence, and most readily acknowledge their authority in all things belonging to their place) but to know and to search out the truth of those suggestions that give cause unto these probibitions."
Sir Thos. Ridley's View of the Civile and Ecclesiasticall Law.
THE circumstances under which the following Address was prepared, have been already stated in the preceding Section. When drawn
When drawn up, for the purpose of being submitted to the Visitors, it was in substance as follows:
MY LORDS, When an individual of humble talents, of moderate acquirements, and in a private station, ventures to oppose himself to opinions and authorities of high credit and of powerful influence, it will naturally be concluded, both by his friends and by the world, that he is in error. Should he continue that opposition, he will be thought pertinacious in error. Such, my Lords, is the situation wherein I now stand, as an appellant to the visitatorial tribunal of your Lordships, and to my country's just and impartial laws.
Unawed by, though in no wise regardless of, the sentiments thus entertained of my professional principles and rule of conduct, I have appealed to the wisdom and justice of your Lordships, and have solicited your Lordships' visitatorial aid for redress of a grievance to me, as an individual, of the most serious import-a grievance in its nature such as to affect not only my present situation and future prospects in life, but implicating my character also, and those rules of action, which, under the sanction of high authorities, I already have adopted.
In that appeal I complained to your Lordships of the injury I have sustained, and am now sustaining, by the refusal of the learned and worshipful Society of Doctors in Civil Law to admit me to
practise as an Advocate in his Majesty's public Courts of Justice, though furnished with the accustomed and legal qualification, and with the usual and necessary documents to approve the same ; my commission, giving me authority so to practise, having been also duly made out. I am now, in consequence of your Lordships' gracious acceptance of my appeal, to support the same, and to reply to the objection urged by the Society, against my qualification, and as justifying their refusal to admit me, though so qualified and so accredited. In selecting the arguments which, for this purpose, I shall submit to your Lordships, I have not admitted any suggestion of my own inexperienced, and possibly not unbiassed judgment. The canons of the Church, the statutes of Parliament, the acknowledged law of the land, with the addition of approved canonical and legal opinions, are the grounds whereon I shati endeavour to support my claim, and to invalidate the objection urged against it. One principle only, I trust, my Lords, for permission to assume, viz. that in this country, and by our laws, every natural-born subject is entitled to reap the fair and honourable fruits of a laborious and expensive education ; that every professional field, not legally fenced and appropriated, is open to the exertions of industry and of talents; and moreover, and above all, that the public courts of justice of the realm are, under such limitations, so open. The objection formally opposed to my admission, and with a view to invalidate my otherwise just and legal claim thereto, is said to be founded on a canon or canons of the Church ; it being contended, that the provisions of the canonical law furnish, in my case, an exception to the general principle I have thus ventured to assume. I shall, therefore, endeavour to prove to your Lordships, that the canons of our Church contain not any such disqualifying regulation; that, on the contrary, if at all brought to bear upon the case, these are strong to support and to augment my right, and can, in none whatever of their provisions, be construed to the hindrance thereof. If successful in my reply to this, the only formally proposed objection, I might consider my task as accomplished, and should, as of necessary inference, conclude myself entitled to claim the constitutional and chartered rights of an individual, in common with every other natural-born British subject. But, my Lords, other arguments, collateral and auxiliary to this principal one of the uncanonical nature of my suit and of my claim, have, in addition thereto, been urged against me ;--the tendency of these being, not only to preclude me from this, and from every other department of professional science, but, moreover, to obstruct also my approach to your Lordships' high and impartial tribunal ; I confide in the acknowledged clemency and candour of your Lordships, while I reply to these auxiliary arguments, and endeavour to remove these preliminary obstacles.
The first objection, which (as adduced by the learned and worshipful Society to support their principle of exclusion) I am to notice and reply to, is founded on an argument by analogy drawn from the practice of the Common Law bar, and of the Inns of Court. It has lately been determined by the four learned societies of Lincoln's Inn, Gray's Inn, the Inner and Middle Temple,* that no person in holy orders can, consistently with a due observance of the canons of the Church, be admitted into either of those societies, or as a practitioner in the Courts of Common Law, or even in the Court of Chancery. The determination thus made by these learned bodies is spoken of as a new regulation, and as though the principles of the canon law, on which it is founded, had been hitherto unestablished, or their construction and application misunderstood. I am, however, mý Lords, at a loss to conjecture, at what period, since the reign of Henry III. it could, (the canons of the Church being at all consulted) ever have been decided otherwise. Upon the ground of this
* The question in the case of Mr. Horne) being put to the Society of Lincoln's Inn, the Benchers returned the following answer to the application :
Lincoln's Inn, 16th June, 1779. “The Benchers now present (being eleven in number) are unanimously of opinion, that it is not proper to call a person in Priest's orders to the bar.” And a verbal answer to the same effect was sent from the Benchers of the Middle Temple and Gray's Inn.
Luder's Reports-Newport Case.