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FRIDAY EVENING, OCTOBER 9th, 1885.
The Right Rev. the PRESIDENT in the Chair.
CONVERSAZIONE AND FINAL MEETING.
A Social Entertainment, or Conversazione (as is usual at the Church Congress), was given to the members by the Worshipful the Mayor and Mrs. Moody. The attendance was large, and, in the course of the evening, the Final Meeting was held.
LIEUTENANT-GENERAL SIR G. WILLIS, K.C.B.
MY LORD BISHOP, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,- I have been requested to move the first resolution, “ That the hearty thanks of the Congress be given to the Readers and Speakers for their valuable papers and addresses.' My individual capacities have hitherto been in the way of deeds rather than words, but on this occasion I must say that I have no difficulty in speaking in terms of high praise of the valuable and interesting, and instructive papers and speeches we have heard in this hall during the week. Such speeches and gatherings cannot fail to do good to the cause of the Church. They bring men's minds to think on religious subjects, and to realise the value of the Church to the nation. I think there will be unanimity in voting this resolution of thanks to those who have so kindly devoted their time, and, in many cases, come long distances to attend this Congress.
The resolution was carried by acclamation.
The Rev. R, W, RANDALL, Vicar of All Saints, Clifton.
The first thing that occurs to me to say is, that I think Church Congresses must beware of mistakes, and there are two mistakes you are making at the present moment. The first is that you have called upon me to return thanks for the Readers and Speakers. That is a great mistake. And the second mistake is that you have passed a vote of thanks to the Readers and Speakers. I have always felt that thanks are not due to the speakers; but to the hearers, and certainly if ever there were hearers more astonishingly patient, long-suffering, forbearing, and even most encouraging to the speakers, it has been the vast number of hearers that have been brought together at this Congress. There are many things that mark Church Congresses. Running my mind over previous Congresses, I think they may be described in a humorous way. The first, which was an attempt to provide sound food for the minds of churchmen, and which was held at Cambridge, might be appropriately called the “Cambridge sausage.” It has been said of the second that the Oxford Congress, where various men met together to see the good that various minds coming together could produce, might have been called the “ Oxford mixture.” It has been said of the third, held in a great mercantile city, which brought together so many good people that it might be called "Manchester goods.” It has been said of another, which was held at Bath, where the good Bishop of Bath and Wells may remember there was some sharp firing, that it might very well be called the “ Bath.” It has been said, when we held the Congress at Stoke, that we were a collec. tion of “Church Stokers ;” and then again it has been said, very appropriately, that from the wonderful amity that prevailed amongst them, those who met at the Plymouth Congress could hardly have deserved a better name than that of the
Plymouth Brethren." And what are we to say is to be the characteristic of the Portsmouth Congress? I hardly know that I can give it a better name than that of the “Portsmouth guns; for it seems to me that in the great meeting here last night, the firing was very steady and very sure, and the management of the artillery most determined. The guns have been pointed, I hope they have been well laid, and I think when the time comes for the guns to be fired in every different parish in the country, the laymen will see that the guns do go off, and that the Church will be well defended. One word more about a more serious matter. A little amusement may well be used, because it often makes the serious things go a little deeper. I ask the churchmen assembled here to-night, whether we have not reason to be thankful for the one meeting of this morning, which touched on the deepest interests of man—the spiritual life. Then and then only was this great hall crowded. It seems to me that there is a strength and force in the power of religion, which, after all, is well able to meet the sad attacks of infidelity ; and this morning's meeting will send us home strengthened in the thought of what we should do for the Church, and of what God has been pleased to do in His Church for us. After all, I suppose the speakers who have laboured hard will feel that the best thanks that can be given to them for the work which they have done will be that some real good should come from this Church Congress having been held in this town of Portsmouth.
MELVILLE PORTAL, Esq.
I am asked to propose “That our warmest thanks be given to the Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of the Diocese for his able and fatherly conduct as President of this twenty-fifth Church Congress.” I need hardly observe that this Congress has now been brought to a conclusion, and I am sure you, my lord, will be glad to rest from your labours. This Congress has unquestionably been a success, and I think that the success has been due, not only to the good rule of our President during its sittings, but also to the care and labour he bestowed on all the preliminary arrangements. I well remember the last Congress in this diocese, and I remember the anxiety with which it was surrounded. But how differently people look upon these gatherings now, and how certainly and quietly has the Church Congress taken its place in the recognised work of the Church of England. One reason of this is the great judgment, the great talent, the great patience with which our successive Congresses have been presided over by a series of eminent prelates of our Church. Your lordship has been surrounder by a noble band of speakers and workers, and we all know how great has been the eloquence and how touching the words of many of them ; but not one amongst them has uttered words of greater blessing or of deeper feeling than those we have heard from our President. He told us the other night of the action of force and matter. We have had plenty of matter, and plenty of force, but it has been his fatherly action that put it in motion and directed it. I feel assured that there is no one here who will not heartily and cordially respond to this resolution.
The motion was agreed to nem. con.
The Right Rev. the PRESIDENT.
I FEEL deeply the kind words that Mr. Portal has spoken about me, and most deeply the very kind way in which you have received them. I feel very unworthy of this honour, because I am quite sure that my best efforts are but feeble, and that I could have done nothing unless I had been supported by those around me, and by the constant forbearance of the Congress. I confess that but for that forbearance, and for the remarkable instances of wisdom and sobriety that have been displayed by all, the Congress would not have been a success. I hope it has been a success. It seems to me that three such eloquent sermons have rarely been preached in a town on one day. As to the Congress itself, we have had most valuable help from the Secretaries of the Congress. It is not my business to move a vote of thanks to them, but I could have done nothing without the assistance and counsel of the Committee and Secretaries, and especially of the Rural Dean here. In every way I have been surrounded by fellow-helpers, and if credit is due to anyone, it is due to them and not to me. And, besides that, it is due to the good temper in the hearers. Whether this Congress has been one of the most brilliant I do not know, but in point of good temper and good feeling it will take rank as one of the highest. Of course, we are not all of one mind --it would have been very dull if we were—but it was very difficult to know whether the speakers were of one side or the other, they all spoke so kindly. There have been two great gatherings in this hall. There was the gathering of working men, when the hall was full to overflowing. It really was a wonderful thing to see so great a meeting, where everyone showed such great intelligence, preserved such good order, and displayed such patience and wisdom. I was asked by a dockyard official whether the men did not behave as well as other people in higher classes of society, and I said they behaved quite as well and probably better. It is not often one can address 3,000 men in one building, and I never saw an assembly conducted with more order or more good sense and wisdom. Then, this morning there was the devotional meeting. If anything can equal the working men's meeting, it was the devotional meeting: The speeches were of very deep interest, and everyone seemed to listen not only with attention, but with deep sympathy and with deep devotional feeling. I, as President, have to thank everybody-my Secretaries and the Congress itself-for all that they have done to make the Congress a great success. Passing from that, I am asked to move this resolution :—"That this Congress heartily recognises the courteous reception it has received at the hands of the Worshipful the Mayor and Corporation of Portsmouth, and the inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood.” This is a large resolution, but I am sure you will accept it heartily. For my own part, I must thank the Mayor for the way he has co-operated with us. At the first he came to us at the Chapter House at Winchester, and spoke words of sympathy, and encouragement, and kindness, and when I say that he belongs to a body of Nonconformists you will see that we owe him still more gratitude for his kindness and his large-heartedness. From the very beginning he gave us his counsel and sympathy, and received us with warm courtesy, while now he has finished up this Congress with this kind and hospitable entertainment. I can only say we all thank the Mayor and Corporation for the kind reception they have given us ; and I ask you, also, to tender our hearty thanks to the inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood. Their general kindness and hospitality will be impressed upon us all.
The Right Hon. A. J. B. BERESFORD-HOPE, M.P.
MY LORD BISHOP, MR. MAYOR.—I hold it to be a great privilege to second this resolution. It is a resolution which we always pass at this meeting, because the Mayors and Corporations of the towns we have visited have always been most kind and helpful to us, but on no occasion more than at Portsmouth. Never have we been greeted with more sincere, more hospitable, and overflowing cordiality. It is a happy omen to this country, although the thing is most natural that good will should exist between the Church of England and the Municipalities of England. Both of them are old English institutions, and both of them exhale the perfume of freedom and invigorate the life of the country in its best aspects. The Church of England is spread over the whole country, but the Corporation of Portsmouth exists for Portsmouth only, but in other towns there are such other counterparts. Taking the Church then, we have in her the free religious lise of the country, and in the Municipality we have the free civil life of the country. The order of the day is now to "go ahead,” for we are an ancient and yet a go ahead nation ; but we have in the Church of England and in our Municipal system a pledge for the happiness and the prosperity, because for the stability of England in the ages to come. With those feelings, and with more immediate gratitude for much kindness and the thoughtful consideration which has resulted in our stately and complimentary reception by the Mayor and Corporation, and finally for this entertainment, I beg to second the resolution with all my heart.
The resolution was carried by acclamation.
J. MOODY, Esq., the Worshipful Mayor of Portsmouth. MY LORD BISHOP, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.-I thank you on behalf of myself, the Corporation, and the inhabitants of Portsmouth for your very kind vote of thanks, but I can assure you that whatever I have done in the matter has been done with the purest possible motive, and not with the idea of getting any thanks. I am very glad to know that I have rendered any service, even in a humble way. I told you on Tuesday that the interesting programme put forward by the Congress would be the means of bringing together a large number of persons; and you have not been disappointed. I was present in this hall on Wednesday night, and I shall never forget it. I frankly confess that I am a Nonconformist ; I believe in Nonconformity, but I believe in good churchmen as well. I listened to the eloquent words, my lord, that you uttered to the working men of this town. They were words of sterling worth. I am sure that such a meeting cannot pass without leaving something good behind, and that the men who were present will be better fathers, husbands, citizens, and Christians than before. I regret that I was not able to attend the devotional meeting, to which the Vicar of Portsmouth wrote and pressed me to come. I am grateful that the Church Congress accepted the invitation to come to Portsmouth, for I believe the week's work will do good to the Church and to the Dissenters as well. I thank Mr. Beresford Hope for the kind way he seconded the vote of thanks, and I trust that wherever the Church Congress may be held in future years, it will be attended with as great success as it has had in the Borough of Portsmouth.
The Right Rev. LORD ARTHUR CHARLES HERVEY, D.D.,
Bishop of Bath and Wells.
I HAVE to move “That this Congress desires to express its grateful sense of the care, attention, and unflagging zeal with which the preparations and arrangements for its meetings have been carried out by the several local committees and officers, and especially to thank the principal secretaries and the hon. architect for the time and labours which they have so ungrudgingly bestowed.” I remember many years ago, when female education had not reached the pitch it has done now, a story being told of a lady who, when shown some cucumbers growing in a frame, expressed her surprise and said, Why I always thought they grew in slices." We might almost fancy that some persons think so of a Church Congress. We come, find a Congress Hall, a programme with Readers and Speakers, and everything ready and complete. But Church Congresses do not grow in slices." They require much labour, thought, and consideration to make them successful. My own expertence of what has so humorously been called the “Warm Bath Congress, taught me how much labour, intelligence, zeal, and care are necessary to make a Congress successful. As to the Portsmouth Congress, we can all testify to its happy results, and we are greatly indebted to the efforts of Mr. Grant, the Vicar of Portsmouth, and Canon Jacob, the hon. secretaries, and the rest of the committee for so happy an issue. I feel sure that you will unanimously agree to this resolution.
The motion was agreed to.
The Rev. E. P. GRANT, Vicar of Portsmouth and
MY LORD BISHOP,—There are a great many happy people in this room. You, my lord, are happy ; Archdeacon Emery is proud and happy; but no man is so rightly proud and happy as I am, for I stand before you in the character of a true prophet. Some twelve months ago, in the face of an adverse vote, I said that this Congress should come to Portsmouth, and I foretold that it would be successful. It has come here, and it has been a successful Congress. I thank you all in the name of my brother secretaries and myself for your kind vote. The work has not been easy or the services light, but they have been rendered with one motive and with one object only, and that is to bring about success. We are rewarded by the success and the kindness we have met with. That we have made some mistakes and been guilty of some sins of omission, nobody is more conscious than I am. All I can say is that we have tried to do our best, and we are very sorry for any inconvenience that may have arisen. I may safely promise never to put you to the same inconveniences again. We give you our thanks for the kindness, courtesy, and forbearance which we have received from the visitors to Portsmouth. That kindness has helped us much, and has helped a great deal to make the whole arrangements go smoothly. I thank you all for your vote of thanks, and for your kind reception of us this evening.
The Rev. EDGAR JACOB, Vicar of Portsea and Hon. Canon
I HARDLY know why a second secretary is called upon to respond to this vote of thanks. I am profoundly thankful that this Congress has passed off so well, and I hope its result will be permanent. This Congress has been impending on this town for three years. Hearing from Archdeacon Emery of the wish of the Congress to visit Portsmouth, I paid a visit to Newcastle in 1882 in order to learn something of the working of the Church Congress ; and last year, when at Bræmar, I received a letter from the Bishop which practically settled the question. I had hoped that it would have been postponed until we had a new Town Hall, but as it appeared that this was the most convenient year we could simply do our best. Our labour has been certainly great, but it has been abundantly rewarded. Certainly, the three striking sermons with which the Congress opened have been a marked feature of this Congress, and will have a permanent value. Let me add a word of public thanks to our hon. architect. He has had considerable labour and anxiety to build a hall which would stand the weather, accommodate fully the Congress, and yet not be too costly. I think he has succeeded in complying with those conditions. I thank you all heartily.
The Right Rev. the PRESIDENT.
I must ask you to allow me to say one word more which is not in the programme. This is, you know, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Church Congress, and you know that Archdeacon Einery founded the Congress in connection with one other excellent man who has now gone to his rest. He is the Permanent Secretary, and he goes to every Congress to set it in order, and to tell everybody what to do. We owe him a debt of gratitude, and it would be ungrateful to part without a word of thanks to my good friend, Archdeacon Emery. I am sure you will all join with me in giving him our thanks, and allow me to convey to him those thanks and the expression of my own affection for him.
The Venerable W. EMERY, Archdeacon and Canon of Ely,
Permanent Secretary to the Church Congress.
MY DEAR LORD BISHOP,– It is my duty to state that you have done a most unusual thing in again thanking me. Thanks were given to me at the opening of the Congress. However, I cannot be too grateful for your kind words. I am thankful to have been enabled to take part in the Church Congresses of the past, and trust I may take part in some yet to come. To you, my dear lord, who have been a true father to me, I tender my most heartfelt thanks. It is by your lordship's kindness, encouragement, and fatherly counsel that I am enabled to stand here as the Archdeacon of Ely to act as secretary in these Congresses. I pray that it may please God to pour down upon your lordship the best of heavenly blessings, and that He may long spare you to us to be our good instructor and example. I can never forget your unvarying goodwill or sufficiently express my gratitude and reverence for you, my constant friend and patron.
The Church Congress of 1885 was thus brought to a successful conclusion,