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INTRODUCTION.

INASMUCH as it has been supposed by some, that the author of these pages has made certain demonstrations with his pen against that, which he now adopts and advocates, it is not unlikely, that his consistency will be drawn in question. Admitting that he has manifested such an inclination, it can only be said, that he has changed his opinion, which is in part, the design of this book to set forth, with the reasons thereof. If he has written against, and in the conflict, or in any train of consequences, has been convinced, that his former position was wrong, the least atonement he can make is to honour what he now regards as truth with a profession as public and a defence as earnest, as any other doings of his on the other side. It is due to himself to say and to claim, that while he remained a Presbyterian, he was an honest one; and it would be very strange, if he had never said or done anything to vindicate that ground. Doubtless he has. He may now be an equally honest Episcopalian ; and charity would not require him to assert it.

But the things referred to in the author's previous public statements, are not exactly what has been supposed. The author does not deny—he has given sufficient proof-that the existence and operation of the church establishment in England, or the union of church and state there has been treated by him as an evil, and a grievous one. Those who have been accustomed to read his communications in the columns of a NewYork weekly journal, while he was in London, must have observed, that his later impressions on this and other kindred topics differed somewhat from the earlier; that although he never ceased to regard the union of church and state as an evil, he became more and more convinced, that reform in this, as in other bad conditions of British society, to be safe must be slow ; and that it was impossible to sever church and state at a single blow, without great hazard to public interests-without dissolving society itself. He has in those communications compared the union of church and state in Great Britain to the warp and woof of their clothing fabrics, and given his opinion, that, as the withdrawal of either part of such a work would destroy it, so an entire and instantaneous severance of the church from the state in Great Britain, as to all the ramifications and combinations of their union, would be equally ruinous and frightfully disastrous. From the earliest periods of their civilization, religion and the church have always been subjects of parliamentary legislation, and are interwoven with the whole structure of society ; so that the jurisdiction ecclesiastical is a distinct department of the civil code, and requires the devotion of a man's life to become an eminent lawyer or judge in the court of Doctors' Commons, London. It will be evident, therefore, at a glance, that society thus constituted will not bear to have this all pervading element thoroughly ejected at once. It cannot be. But there may be reform, so far as it operates to the disadvantage and oppression of any class of the community ; and there should be.

The author has ever felt and manifested a deep sympathy for those, who are oppressed by the operation of the church establishment of England. His sympathies carried him so far in his earlier communications on this .

subject, as to find fault with the better and more exemplary class of clergymen in the Church of England, when he thought their zeal for the establishment blinded them to a sense of justice towards Dissenters; and when he saw them taking their stand against those degrees of reform, which were necessary to remove the most obvious occasions of complaint. And he is of the same opinion still, though he no more doubts the honesty of those excellent men, or their sincere concern for the interests of religion, than he doubts the virtue of the standing order in the state of Connecticut, when they took their stand against the proposal to place all Chris. tian sects on an equal footing. The cases are precisely parallel ; and the same scene is now acting over in England. In the same manner as in Connecticut, both parties will be glad when they are through with it; and it will be seen and admitted on all hands, that they who claim to support only the religion of their own choice, do it with good reason; and that it is better for society to allow this privilege to all.

It is possible, indeed, that in finding fault with those, who have set up the claims of the Church of England against these rights, the author may have indulged in expressions of disrespect for the church itself. It was very natural for an American to do so, when he saw the vices of such an establishment. But though he may have done this incidentally and in a slight degree, the main current and bearing of his strictures on that church have had respect to its character and operations, as a state institution. It must have been seen, that he opens and concludes his chapter on the Church of England, in his “ Four Years in Great Britain," with a disclaimer against being supposed as meddling with the question of Episcopacy. His design in that collection of facts was to show the evils of uniting church and state, that it might serve as a warning to our country, so far as it might be noticed. If any persons may have identified

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