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HE Hon. Reginald R. Brett in his charming little book, "The Yoke of
Empire," from which I have quoted more than once, having referred to the
stone. The eagle eye of the Grand Old Man, ever swift to detect the slightest error in an ecclesiastical statement, pointed out that the title, Head of the Church, was no longer borne by English Sovereigns. It was dropped by Queen Elizabeth, he said, and had never subsequently been resumed by any of her successors.
Mr. Gladstone, as usual when he is dealing with ecclesiastical facts, was perfectly right. The Queen is still officially styled Defender of the Faith. The title, by an odd ironical anachronism, was conferred upon one of her predecessors for a pamphleteering defence of Roman doctrine against Luther, and is now worn by a Sovereign whose crown
would be forfeit if she pro
fessed the Roman creed.
But Head of the Church
the Queen no longer claims
to be, nor have any of her
predecessors since the days
of Queen Eliz. abeth. The
reason for the abandonment
of the somewhat presump
tuous title was purely titular.
As Dr. Aubrey says in his
"Rise and Growth of the
English Nation," the
Virgin Queen, who was at the
time only twenty-four
years of age, “had some
feminine dislike to being
called Head of the Church,
preferring the title of Su
preme Governor.” It was
a distinction without a dif
ference; for she exercised
the prerogative of head.
ship as much as her father
had done. THE SUPREME GOVERNOR OF THE CHURCH, 1836. She was de
clared to be (From a painting by William Fowler.) “ in all causes
ecclesiastical as well as civil supreme.” The title which she disowned was claimed by Henry VIII. in 1531, when the clergy, on pain of incurring the penalties of Præmunire, were required to recognise the King as "the Singular Protector and only and Supreme Lord of the Church and Clergy, and also their Supreme Head."
Of course, in one way, we must all sympathise with Elizabeth's scruple. The only Head of the Christian Church is Christ Himself. All other claimants to headship, whether Popes or Monarchs, are blasphemous usurpers, who would have just as much theological justification for a claim to be considered the third Person in the Trinity. I am, of course, aware that the Pope does not claim to be Head of the Church but only to be Vicar on Earth of Christ, the one true and only Head of the Church ; but in common speech this distinction even in Rome is often forgotten. I well remember Count Ignatieff's holy horror when, on going together through the Museum of the Vatican, we heard Roman priests speak of Leo XIII. as the Head of the Church, “It is Anti-Christ,” said the Orthodox Count. And so, no doubt, the claim of English Sovereigns to the Headship of the Church must have appeared to many a good Romanist and good Puritan in the days that are gone. But now-a-days, when old feuds have died down, we begin to see that after all there was something to be said for the Royal Supremacy. Not, perhaps, in the crude Erastian sense in which it was originally propounded, but in a subtler way, and in a broader sense than what possibly even Her Majesty herself perceives. In this Study I shall attempt to show how well Her Majesty has played the part of Head of the Church, beginning with the narrow sect of Anglican ecclesiasticism, and then dealing with her conduct as the Head of the Civic Church—the Union of all who Love in the Service of all who Suffer. In the next chapter I describe what is, perhaps, the widest and most important rôle that she has been called to play as Head and Ideal Exemplar of the domestic life, which, as the Family is the original cell of the organism of which the Church is the ultimate evolution, must be regarded as the broadest and most catholic Church of all.
I.-AS SUPREME GOVERNOR OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH.
It is curious how everything in the reign of Victoria irresistibly takes us back to the reign of Elizabeth. These two great female Sovereigns illumine our annals as electric arcs light up an arcade. Compared with them our Kings—with the one exception of the only man who shared his throne with a Queen-are but miserable tallow dips : James the First and Second, Charles the First and Second; George the First, Second, Third, and Fourth; and William the Fourth-what one of them in the whole miserable male procession dwells to-day in the memory of the nation? Of the whole nine, Charles the First is remembered because he lost his head, and George the Third because he lost America; but of the rest what mortal ever speaks at all, or speaks save with contempt? whereas Elizabeth, since her death, has never for one single year ceased to be an inspiration to all those who have come after her. Oliver Cromwell, in one of his speeches to his Parliament, referred to her as “that Lady, that great Queen," “ the Queen Elizabeth of famous memory-we need not be ashamed to call her so ”—upon which Carlyle, commenting, says: "No, your Highness; the royal Court phrase expresses in this case the exact truth-she is of famous memory.” And as she was, Victoria will be in the ages that are still to comeVictoria, that Lady, that great Queen, of famous memory.
It is perhaps only a curious coincidence that in this Record Year of Her Majesty, the nephew of the last English bishop who did homage to Queen Victoria should have seen with his own eyes the ghost of Queen Elizabeth in the Library of Windsor Castle. The story, which appears to be as well authenticated as any record of the incidents of every day in the morning papers, tells how Lieutenant Glyn, of the 3rd Battalion of the Grenadier Guards, was sitting in Windsor Castle Library reading “The History of Dorsetshire,” when he became aware of some one passing in the inner library. He looked up and saw a female figure in black, with black lace on her head falling on to her shoulders. He was sitting in a chair on the east side of the first room from which a few steps lead up into a gallery built by Queen Elizabeth as a picture gallery. It is now lined with books. On the left hand there are windows, on the right a series of bays, with windows looking down upon the Terrace and the Thames Valley. Lieutenant Glyn saw the lady in black lace pass him, enter the gallery, and after
traversing it so far, turned sharply to the right and disappear into a bay from where in former times the great Queen used to descend by a staircase to the Terrace. It was four on a February afternoon, just before closing time. When the attendant came to close the door Lieutenant Glyn asked who the lady was who was at work in the inner
“No one," said the attendant. “But,” said he, “I have seen her just now walk into the inner room.” The attendant went to see, found no one, and returned. “She must have gone out of a door in that corner,” said Lieutenant Glyn, pointing to the bay from which in olden times the gallery ran down to the Terrace. “But there is no door there,” said the attendant. Greatly marvelling at the sudden disappearance of the lady in black lace, the Lieutenant departed, little thinking that he had been the first man in the present reign to see the ghost of the famous Elizabeth. When the attendant reported the occurrence to the librarian, Dr. Holmes, * he at once sent for Lieutenant Glyn and asked him to describe the figure he had seen. When he did so the librarian said, “ It is the same. You have seen the apparition of Queen Elizabeth.” It seems that from of old time Windsor Castle has been occasionally revisited by the famous Queen. The Empress Frederick, when a child, is said to have seen the apparition in the same place. The librarian has been familiar with the story for twenty-seven years, and often at Hallowe'en has sat late waiting to see the ghost, but he waited in vain. Now, as is usually the case with genuine ghosts, it appeared in the daylight to a young Guardsman who had never heard of it, and who, like Mary Magdalene on another occasion, mistook the supernatural figure for an ordinary being of every-day flesh and blood.
It is a pity that Lieutenant Glyn is not clairaudient as well as clairvoyant, for it would be interesting to hear what Elizabeth would have to say of her latest successor. In one thing they are as opposite as the poles. Elizabeth was hot against a married clergy. In the eyes of Queen Victoria nothing so well becomes a priest as a good family of his own. Who is there who does not recall the familiar insult which Elizabeth addressed to Mrs. Parker, wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury, as she was leaving Lambeth Palace, where she had been entertained with more than regal magnificence ? “ Madam I may not call you, and mistress I am loth to call you; however, I thank you for your good cheer."
What a contrast to this old-world gibe is the remark once made to me by an eminent Anglican with whom I was talking on the subject of Church patronage ! “The Queen,” said my friend, “ dear lady, is dominated by domesticity. Of the idea of a Church in the sense in which we understand it she has absolutely no conception. But the patronage of the Church she regards with the jealous eye natural to a Monarch who has seen one class of offices after another removed from the sphere of patronage until now only the Church appointments are left. These she regards as a kind of family perquisite to be distributed as rewards of virtue to the most deserving clergymen, who are usually those who have the largest families. It is a curious motive to decide the making of Bishops—is it not? But the heart of the mother is so strong in our good lady the Queen that orthodoxy, learning, zeal, good Churchmanship count for nothing compared with the claims of the clergyman who has a large family, especially if he has nothing to feed them with. For then the desire to feed the hungry reinforces the instinct of rewarding the multiplication of the species.”
My friend mayhap spoke with a trifle of exaggeration, for the High Church party never quite forgave Her Majesty for insisting on the promotion of Tait.
" It was no use,” said my Anglican friend ruefully; “ Tait's claims were irresistible. Mrs. Tait had not only had eight children already, but had lost six of them in a single
According to a newspaper report, wirich Dr. Holmes assures me is “ unacthorised and inaccurate."
month by scarlet fever. What more could be required to qualify a man first for the great diocese of London, and then for the throne of Canterbury ? "
As it is true that the Queen stood by Tait, would have Tait, and nobody but Tait, as Archbishop of Canterbury; and as Tait had, when Dean of Carlisle, lost six daughters all in one epidemic, the origin of the taunt is obvious.
It is an interesting question how far the Queen has personally interfered in the appointment of Bishops. Elizabeth had no scruples on the subject. When the Bishop of Ely ventured to protest against the spoliation of his See, she wrote: “Proud prelate, you know what you were before I made you what you are. If you
do not immediately comply with my request, by
God I will unfrock you."
It is probable that Her From “Life of Tait,” by Randall Davidson, Bishop of Winchester.
Majesty, without exactly re(Published by Macmillan and Co.)
garding the Church of England as the sole remaining branch of the Civil Service to which Royal favouritism could make appointments, has never taken a very high view of the pretensions of the Anglican
When in Scotland she has showed more signs of enjoying the simple Presbyterian service than she has ever done in participating heartily in the Anglican ritual in England. She is Erastian by heredity and by training. Her predecessors on the throne had regarded a Bishop chiefly as a kind of Protestant officer holding an outpost against the Papal foe, for the craze of anti-Romanism raged fiercely among the Hanoverian Kings. When Dr. Longley did homage to William IV. on his appointment to the See of Ripon, “no sooner had he risen from his knees than the King suddenly addressed him in a loud voice thus : 'Bishop of Ripon, I charge you, as you shall answer before Almighty God, that you never, by word or deed, give encouragement to those damned Whigs who would upset the Church of England.'” Her hereditary Hanoverian Erastianism was not likely to be seriously affected by the teaching of her first Ministerial tutor. Lord Melbourne may have had many virtues, but he was certainly not a High Churchman. “Damn it, another Bishop dead!" is said to have been his characteristic exclamation on hearing of a vacancy in the episcopate. That graceless reprobate Lord Palmerston, who broke the record as a Bishopmaker, having made five Archbishops, twenty-two Bishops, and ten Deans, was as little given as Lord Melbourne to indulgence in High Church exclusiveness. Mr. Gladstone and Lord Salisbury, with the dubious exception of Lord Derby, were the only High Church Premiers of the reign. But although Mr. Gladstone was allowed