The Founders of Canterbury
Reigate, — Friday evening, 17th December, 1847
Friday evening, 17th December, 1847.
My Dear Godley,
—I wish to add something without delay to my hasty letter written in London to-day.
Not finding any letter from you here, I fear that you are unwell. But hoping the best, I imagine that my previous letter may have induced you to move by means of writing to your friends, and that you will continue to be doing what you can in that way until we meet; and I am therefore desirous of adverting to the question of party in the Church, which everybody mentions to me whenever I talk on the subject of this religious project. The more I reflect, the more I am disposed to agree with you, that it will be impossible to avoid a party colour. I see that though a Society of neutral colour might be formed, it would be inefficient by reason of the want of harmony, or, at any rate, of earnest co-operation, amongst its members. But neither am I blind to the evil tendency of a decided party colour. In favour of it there is the earnestness, without which nothing very good can be page 12accomplished: against it, there is the narrowness of the field in which you would work, and the advantage which would be given to the opponents of the plan. The evangelical partywill oppose at all events; and if they were able to show, distinctly that it was a "Puseyite" scheme, their opposition would be very formidable, because it would more or less obtain the sympathy of those religious men and good Churchmen who are neither Puseyite nor Evangelical. What I anxiously desire, therefore, is, that the Society may comprise persons of mark who are not deemed Puseyites; that in forming it, your skill and policy may enable you to steer clear of a personnel which would stamp it at once with a Puseyite character; that there may be in it such a number of persons, not Puseyites, as would prevent others from running it down as Puseyite. Surely the Church comprises many eminent persons, lay and clerical, who are both earnest Churchmen and friends of colonization, and yet not members of the Puseyite or Tractarian party: I would name, for example, Gladstone and the Bishop of Oxford. Along with a good many such persons, it matters not how many Puseyites; nay, the more the better: but without them, I fear that the anticolonizing evangelicals would prove too strong for you. The Puseyite party alone cannot do the thing; can it? If not, let us beware of a failure from taking too narrow a position. I do not understand this part of the subject well myself, but am very anxious about it. It seems to be a question of colour and tints and shades, but is one of the highest import and most real substance. What is wanted, is a due combination of zeal and power. What we have to guard against, is a sacrifice of the power for the sake of the zeal.
I have expressed myself imperfectly; but you will interpret me aright, I hope. It will be enough if you should share my conviction that conspicuous exclusive Puseyism, or any other Ism, would land us in a failure. Whatever the fact may be—howmuchsoever we may rely on the earnestness of the most earnest Churchmen who are not anti-colonizers—let no one page 13be able to say without being contradicted, "It is altogether a Puseyite affair: look at the names."
The requisite notices and forms in the election of a Director will prevent your final appointment till the 7th of January.
It was proposed in conversation to-day, that the Society should have an office at the West End. Who will be its Secretary or chief working man? Not you, being a Director; —that is, not ostensibly, though you may be the most active of its members in realily. You see what a number of things I want to talk to you about.