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REPORT OF COMMISSION ON ECCLESIASTICAL COURTS. TOUR IN AUVERGNE. SPEECH AT OXFORD ON GRANTING MONEY FOR A PHYSIOLOGICAL LABORATORY. APPOINTED REGIUS PROFESSOR OF MODERN HISTORY. INAUGURAL LECTURE. OPINIONS ON SOCIAL LIFE AND EDUCATIONAL WORK IN OXFORD, HOME Rule, and IMPERIAL FEDERATION. BROKEN HEALTH. VISIT TO SICILY. BEGINS HISTORY OF SICILY. CORRESPONDENCE.
THE Report of the Royal Commission on Ecclesiastical Courts was issued in 1883. Freeman's attendance at the sittings of the Commission had been far from regular, owing partly to his visit to America in 1881-2, partly to his broken health, and partly also to his excessive dislike to London. But he was too conscientious not to give the subject of inquiry much careful thought and attention, and on some points connected with it he held very clear and positive views. On March 12, 1883, he wrote to Mr. Stubbs :
"... I am getting interested on one point. I am getting near to a real opinion about the Final Appeal. My difficulty throughout has been that I have objected to everything that everybody else proposed, and had nothing better to propose myself. But here I have a very distinct view. Henry VIII most assuredly did not mean everything to be tried thrice. He did not mean that there should be an appeal from the archbishop's court as a matter of course; he wished merely to provide a remedy in
any special case where the archbishop's court had clearly not done its duty. Could not we put somewhere a power of judging whether there is any ground for an appeal or not? The lawyers themselves do something of the kind that I mean when a man moves for a "rule or a new trial. Then again, the delegates must not be wholly any kind of people, above all, not wholly lawyers. There should be some lawyers, because questions of their trade may always turn up; but not all lawyers, because there is a great deal about which lawyers don't understand, and about which they are less fit to judge than any other man. On any hard historical point, Jack, Tom, and Harry in the road are simply unqualified to judge; Snooks, Q.C., or Mr. Justice Tomkins are disqualified. Jack, Tom, and Harry simply don't know; Snooks, Q.C., and Mr. Justice Tomkins know wrong, which is worse. Jack, Tom, and Harry may haply be taught. Q.C. and Mr. Justice can't and won't be taught.
'... Can anything be done towards either of these points? Some of us might make a separate report.
'Then we must do nothing to countenance the superstition that if the king delegates bishops, it makes it something more holy than if he nominates lawyers or captains. We have used up bishops as bishops, before we get to the king. If the king appoints bishops, they sit not as bishops but as the king's delegates, and it is the king's court equally. Only one kind of delegates is better than another, and a body made up wholly of lawyers is the worst of all. I would leave the appointment perfectly open, as it was by Henry VIII. Think over all this, please.'
He recurs to the subject in another letter to Mr. Stubbs on June 3, 1883:—
"... That Final Court composed wholly of lawyers (bad luck to them) still sticks in my throat. Can nothing be done? The papers say that you praught before the Judges, but took no notice of their presence. I would have praught from the text"Be learned, ye that are judges of the earth," and prove to them how very unlearned all of them are in many things. Then, if they don't reform, you might preach next year from
"Let their judges be overthrown in stony places, that they may hear my words, for they are sweet." I should like to see them overthrown in Ebbor rocks (your old climbing-place) and you sweetly explaining to them that William did not bring in the feudal system at the Gemót of Salisbury.'
His final letter to Mr. Stubbs on this point is dated June 20, when the sittings of the Commissioners were drawing to an end.
... I believe the power Tussis1, who was worshipped near Hadrian's Villa, has so far relaxed her hold on me that I might safely come up to-morrow: but 'tis only one day, and I have not heard the rest, and if I do come I have nowhere to go in that horrid London, and Hannibal and Asdrubal are so much more interesting. . . . What say you to a protest against the judges in the last resort? I don't want to keep lawyers out. They may be wanted for any points of their own trade that may turn up. And this or that lawyer often knows a lot besides his own trade, and may therefore personally be a very fit man. But to confine it to members of the trade is to confine it to men who, so far as they are members of the trade, are more incompetent than any other class of men. 'Tis the one thing I feel strongly about, as the one thing that concerns historic truth.'
The Commissioners in their final Report recommended that cases of heresy and of breach of ritual should be tried in the first instance in the Diocesan Court, and that an appeal should lie from the Diocesan Court to the Archiepiscopal Court of the Province, and from the Court of the Province to the Crown-the Crown Court to consist of a permanent body of lay judges learned in the law, not less than five to be summoned for each case
1 Latin for cough.
2 It appears, however, from the catalogue of attendances appended to the Report that he was present at the last ten sittings of the Commissioners, including one on June the 28th.
by the Lord Chancellor in rotation. Statements of dissent or reservation by some of the members of the Commission were appended to the Report, including the following from Freeman :
'I wish to state my dissent from the words which confine the hearing of appeals to the Crown to members of a single profession. I would leave it open to the Crown to appoint lawyers, churchmen, or any other persons who may be thought competent, as was the case with the Court of Delegates under the statute of Henry VIII. I hold that the examination of questions of this kind constantly calls for knowledge of a special kind, the presence of which is by no means implied in the professional learning of the lawyer, and which is just as likely to be found in any other persons, clerical or lay.'
The following letters were written during a tour with his wife and two of his daughters in Auvergne and central France, in the course of which he visited Angers, Tours, Poitiers, Clermont-Ferrand, Le Puy, Issoire, Brioude, Bourges, Orleans, and Chartres.
To T. HODGKIN, ESQ., D.C.L.
Clermont Ferrand, October 19, 1883.
I see you don't know this Arvernia. Well, I defined it as the land of land-dolphins and snuffed out spitfires. The Viennese is another land of land-dolphins, and by Alba is a land of snuffed out spitfires; but is there any other land combines the two? Looking everywhere but over the big plain of Limagne 'tis a mass of puys and puykins (for some be very tiny), all of which spat in times past, that is, in Dawkins' time, not your's or mine. When they were all burning, it must have been rather like Wolverhampton or Merthyr Tydfil by night; only there was, I suppose, nobody to see them. The lava on the top of other layers speaks for itself, as do the crateres in the hill-tops, and, as at Catania, they build things of lava, Clermont Cathedral to start with. It is hard to believe one is in France;
the villages dotted about among the hills look so much more like Italy; but I don't know any part of Italy where the hills themselves of all sorts and sizes are dotted about in the same way. Some of them really look like our little island hills in Somerset.
Do you know the origin of Puy de Dôme? I fancied it was because it looks like a cupola; but that can't be. The whole range is Mont Dôme, Puy de Dôme only its highest point. And there is an inscription of somebody somewhere Dumiensis.
The churches of Romanesque date have a marked style of their own, and the towns are full of fine houses of various dates, mostly, of course, latish. The churches are seldom, I think, before eleventh century. There may be a scrap or two here and there. The Arvernian antiquaries seem fond of putting things before their time, but so are all antiquaries, unless well watched.
'Tis a relief to be out of the Alòs åpɣá1-in other words, not to see Times or other English daily papers. But how meagre and silly are the French papers. I have just read in Spectator about Seeley's scheme of federation. I say Nay, because U. S. are separated, and such a union of the other things would draw the line between Middle and New England harder still. As things are, the more quite independent Englands the better.
TO MISS EDITH THOMPSON.
Hôtel de l' Europe, Le Puy, October 25, 1883.
I think the time has come for me to give you some report of our doings since I sent you a card from Clermont on the 14th...
From Clermont as a centre we-that is, one or more, for we did not all go to every place, and Florence (Brioude, October 26) several times tarried behind-went to divers places, as Montferrand, a most wonderful collection of ancient houses; Riom to which I must go again to get the abbey of Mozac; Royatcum-Chamalières; Gergovia- (very like Uleybury) cum-Mont
('Rule of Zeus' or Jupiter.)
A hill in Gloucestershire, near his old home at Dursley, the site of a Roman encampment, with a very deep trench round the edge.