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what public man has not-to have at times, and in certain quarters, my words misrepresented, my motives misconstrued, the whole aim and object of my teaching utterly perverted-unintentionally, I am sure yet surely-surely-there is a rich recompense in the warm and affectionate professions of respect which you have made to me this night. Surely there is abundant overpayment, in the affectionate regard with which I have been met in Brighton, in so many personal attachments, some of the kindest and warmest of those friends being now around me, for whose presence here this evening, I have to thank your graceful and touching courtesy. My young friends-my dear brethren-I had meant to say more-I had intended to briefly sketch the principles of my public teaching; but I would far rather leave what Mr. Evans has said of it, knowing it as he does, to speak for itself. Far rather than that I should speak of my own principles, I would have the decisive testimony of that young man to reply to all the misconceptions and perversions that have been uttered of my work. His words shall answer for it, whether there is Rationalism or Socialism in my teaching.
Delivered at the Town Hall, Brighton, November 14, 1850, at a Meeting held for the Purpose of Addressing the Queen in reference to the Attempt of the Pope of Rome to parcel England out into Ecclesiastical Dioceses under Cardinal Wiseman.
WHEN I entered this room, I had not the smallest intention of addressing the Meeting; but certain expressions which have been used since my arrival seem to make it necessary. However that may be, if this were simply a question between the Church of England and the Church of Rome-if it were merely a question of precedence between the Archbishop of Canterbury and Cardinal Wiseman, I should hold it purely superfluous to attend this meeting. As a member of the Church of England, certainly consistently, as every dissenter will acknowledge, I hold that the Bishop of Rome has been guilty of an act of schism. It was a principle of the early Church,
that every church, every kingdom, is supreme in spiritual matters within itself, and that every bishop is vested with authority in his own diocese. So far as this goes we, the members, and especially the clergy, of the Church of England, have reason to consider ourselves aggrieved; but all that would be necessary for us to do in such a case is to do what we have done,-address our Bishop. We should be by no means justified in calling so large a meeting, of our fellow countrymen and fellow townsmen, a large mass of whom are not members of the Church of England, to address the Sovereign.
If this were merely a matter between Protestant and Roman Catholic in point of doctrine, I should feel that nothing more than a protest was necessary. I confess that it seems to me that to say "We are right and the Roman Catholics are wrong, and therefore the Roman Catholics may not proselytise because they are wrong, and we may because we are right;" is a petitio principii, a begging of the question, an assumption of the very thing in dispute. I acknowledge that I have but very small sympathy with those intolerant controversialists who imitate the Church of Rome in thundering out anathemas against their brother Christians. I have small sympathy with those persons who are trying
to arouse popular indignation against Romanism, by endeavouring to prove that the Pope of Rome is "The Man of Sin," and the Church of Rome a "Synagogue of Satan." Let there be proselytism by fair argument; let there be a fair field and no favour. Let them do what they can; and, in the name of God, we will do what we can. We do not fear Rome. Let them have fair play; we ask no more. For such questions as these, we do not require such meetings.
The ground on which I stand here, the reason on which I protest against this Papal Act, is the assumption of Infallibility which it contains. It is a claim by an individual man, or by a body of men, of a right to press on the consciences of mankind, authoritatively, opinions of their own. Whether that view be thundered from the Vatican, or be thundered from Exeter Hall, or come from the assumed infallibility of a private pulpit, be it Dissenting or Church of England, I believe it to be our bounden duty, as Protestants, to protest against it.
I stand forward on behalf of the right of private judgment. I would almost rather retract that expression; for the words "private judgment" have a proud sound. It seems to assume that private judgment must be right; that every
man may judge what he will, and that, forsooth, having judged it, he, in the omnipotence of his individual judgment, must be right. I do not so understand it. A man has not a right to judge what he will; he may judge what is right: the right of private judgment is the right of judging the right. I retract the expression I used just now, and stand up on behalf of the Rights of Conscience, not the right of man to have what conscience he will, but the right of conscience to control the man and demand allegiance to its decrees. I protest against the Popish claim for this reason,—that it is an assumption of man to dictate, in the forum of conscience, to his brother man.
There is something besides which I would rather not have said; and for that reason I entered this room intending not to say one word. There is an expression in that Address to which in committee I raised an objection. It is that where we call for the remedy which justice demands for the act that has been done. I know my brother ministers meant that they demand no pains and penalties, but merely require and wish that the titles should be ignored; and yet the expression is one from which, in all freedom, I felt myself shrink. I do not like to ask the interference of the Law; I do not like to ask for protection in such a matter; I do not like to seem to stand for