Afterwards Viscount Barrington
, was born in 1678, at Theobalds, in Hertfordshire
He was the third son of Benjamin Shute
, an eminent merchant, and was descended from an ancient family of considerable note, some of whom had in later years been more worthily distinguished by their attachment to the cause of civil and religious liberty.
His immediate ancestors were connected with the Nonconformists in the period of their adversity, and he himself was trained up in an early adherence to the same cause.
At sixteen, according to the custom which we have already seen was very prevalent among the more educated class of Dissenters of that period, he was sent to pursue his studies in the university of Utrecht
, where he speedily distinguished himself by his proficiency in classical literature, and in the other prevailing studies of the place, particularly those of civil law and theology.
Some of his academical disputations appear to have been printed at the time, and have since been cited with marked commendation by several writers of high name and authority on the subjects to which they related.
After studying four years at Utrecht
, Mr. Shute
returned to England
, and entered himself a student of the Inner Temple
, with a view to the legal profession.
He was not, however, so absorbed in his preparations for this object as not
to take an interest in the affairs of the religious body to which he belonged.
He soon began to take an active part in the controversy between the Church
and the Dissenters, and in 1701 published a pamphlet, but without his name, entitled, ‘The Interest of England
, in respect to Protestants dissenting from the established Church.’
In this pamphlet he dwelt on the rights of the Dissenters, to a full toleration; and argued the question on those enlarged and general principles which recommended him to the notice of Mr. Locke
, with whose friendship, during the short remainder of that great man's life, he continued to be honoured.
It is not improbable that to his intercourse with Mr. Locke
we may in part ascribe the diligent attention to theological pursuits, scarcely met with in laymen, for which he afterwards became remarkable, and by the result of which he is now chiefly remembered.
It is also reasonable to conclude, that the early disciple of Locke
was even at this period not averse to his theological views; a circumstance which when we consider how well known those views were, and in what light they were regarded by the orthodox—and that Mr. Shute
was nevertheless, and continued to be, a man of great influence among the English Presbyterians
, may afford us no unplausible ground for the belief that, so early as the very beginning of the last century, the most distinguished men of this denomination had already deviated materially from the standards of their forefathers.
He is shortly after this time described by Swift
, in a letter to Archbishop King
, as ‘the shrewdest head in England
,’ a leader of the Presbyterians, and the person in
whom they principally confided.
He soon afterwards published another pamphlet entitled, ‘The Rights of Protestant Dissenters,’ which reached a second edition in 1705.
, from his rising talents and intimate connexion with the most distinguished men of the party, was already considered as a leading man among the Dissenters, and was consulted on that ground by the most eminent statesmen of the day, in relation to various public measures by which the interests of the Dissenters were affected, or in which it was supposed that their influence could be brought into beneficial operation.
One of the most important of these was the then projected union with Scotland
On this occasion he was sent for by Lord Somers to attend a meeting of the cabinet ministers, to whom, when his opinion was asked, he gave it most warmly ill favour of the design.
They replied, that the influence of the English Dissenters
on the Presbyterians of Scotland
would be most important in bringing it about; and proposed that he, as a representative of the former body, should proceed to Scotland
for that purpose.
After some consideration, he agreed to abandon, for the present, his professional views, in order to promote this great object; stating, at the same time, that the Dissenters were not likely to exert themselves in it, unless it was understood that the Corporation and Test Acts were to be repealed.
An engagement to this effect was accordingly given, which, however, appears to have been forgotten when the object was accomplished.
In consequence of his services on this occasion, Mr. Shute
, after his return from Scotland
appointed, in 1708, one of the Commissioners
of the Customs.
About the same time, Francis Barrington
of Tofts, in Essex
, who had married a relation of Mr. Shute
, left him his estate, on condition of his assuming the name and arms of Barrington
In 1710, he received another accession to his fortune, at the death of Mr. Wildman
, of Becket
, in Berkshire
, who also left him his estate; declaring in his will, that he did so merely because he knew no man who was so worthy of it.
In 1711, the Whig
administration being dismissed, Mr. Barrington
lost his place as Commissioner
of the Customs.
In the course of the political contests of that period, which it is well known rose to a more than ordinary pitch of violence and animosity, he continued his connexion with the Whig party, in support of whose views he soon afterwards published a pamphlet entitled, ‘A Dissuasive from Jacobitism.’
This publication, from its connexion with the great question of primary national interest and importance at the period, had a very extensive circulation, and is described1
as ‘a specimen of clear and exact reasoning, and of a bold and intrepid exposition of the principles of civil liberty against popish superstition and arbitrary power.’
We have little doubt that, on the whole, it deserved this commendation; though some of the extracts given by Mr. Townsend
may, perhaps, lead to the suspicion, that the author was led by a prejudice, not at all unnatural in the defenders of civil liberty in those days, to mix up the political and the religious
We cannot much wonder that, at that period, ‘popish superstitions and arbitrary power’ were so closely associated in many men's minds as to be almost identified; but we have lived to see the cry of ‘no popery’ pretty effectually separated from all more than ordinary pretensions to an attachment to civil freedom.
On the accession of George I. Mr. Barrington
was among those who were immediately presented to the new sovereign; but he declined the offers of preferment that were made to him, so long as the Schism and Occasional Conformity Acts, which had been passed during the late administration, and by which the principles of the toleration previously enjoyed, imperfect and unsatisfactory as it was, were obviously violated, remained unrepealed.
From this time they remained, it is true, nearly a dead letter; but they were not formally erased from the statute book till the year 1717: after which (in 1720), Mr.
B. was raised to the Irish peerage by the titles of Baron Barrington
, of Newcastle
, and Viscount Barrington
, of Ardglass; he received at the same time a reversionary grant of the office of Master
of the Rolls in Ireland
, which he resigned in 1731.
In the first parliament of George I. Mr.
B. was returned to the House of Commons, as member for Berwick-upon-Tweed; and was again elected for the same place in 1722.
He does not appear to have been a frequent or eloquent speaker in parliament; but from his reputation and connexions, was, doubtless, a man of considerable influence, and took an active part in supporting
administrations of the early part of that reign.
It is also certain that he exerted himself with vigour and effect whenever any propositions were brought forward affecting either the civil rights of the Dissenters or the cause of religious liberty and free inquiry in general.
When (in 1717) the bill was brought in to repeal the Schism and Occasional Conformity Acts of the late reign, it was at first proposed to introduce a clause providing a sort of test in relation to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity
; as to which (says Dr. Calamy2
) the body of the Dissenters were (unkindly and without any just ground) represented as wavering and unsettled.
However this may have been, there can be no question that a large portion of them were fully prepared to resist, to the utmost of their power, every attempt to impose additional restraints of any kind on the consciences of men; and of this class Mr. B. was the active and efficient representative.
In a great measure through his exertions, this proposition was defeated.
It may have been owing to his conduct on this occasion, as well as to the part he took in the struggle at Salters
'-hall, that an attempt was made to defeat his election for Berwick
, in 1722, by raising against him the cry of Arianism.
This cry is referred to in the following remarkable passage by Mr. Bennet
, of Newcastle
, in the dedication of one of his works to Lord Barrington:—‘I speak not this from an apprehension that your lordship has any opinions in religion that render you obnoxious, or that you need be
shy of owning on proper occasions.
I have reason to think you have examined religion and formed your creed with some care and exactness.
In the mean time, what have the voters for Berwick
to do in this matter?
I cannot discern the obligation we are under, even in religious societies and churches, to pry into our brethren's sentiments, especially in the abstruser questions of religion, in which most of them, I am confident, must, on examination, if they answer uprightly, return a non liquet
. And I must confess, when I see any busy this way, making a scrutiny into other christians' breasts, and going about in quest of heretics, I presently have the idea of an old Rabbi
starting up before me, or of a Phariseus truncatus
, or some such composition of pride, self-sufficiency, and censoriousness; and when this is done in any of the δυσνόητα
of religion, as is often the case in things which it has pleased God in his wisdom to place out of our reach—the ασ᾿σ῾ητα σ῾ηματα
of the divine nature and government—'tis more assuming and dangerous.
But when we carry the minister into politics, and are for making our own opinions and dictates not only the test of other people's orthodoxy, but their qualification for a civil trust, the usurpation is still worse.’3
In the following year (1723), a very unpleasant affair took place relating to a joint stock company and lottery, professedly for the formation of a seaport and trading company at Harburgh,
in the electorate of Hanover
(one of the multitude of mischievous bubbles which occasioned so much distress and confusion in the fatal year 1720); in the management of which Lord Barrington was unfortunately concerned.
The matter was brought before the House of Commons, who voted, ‘that the project called the “Harburgh lottery,” is an infamous and fraudulent undertaking;’ and Lord Barrington was in consequence expelled the house.
It is not very easy, perhaps, to ascertain the whole truth on this unfortunate business; but there is good reason to think that, as far as Lord Barrington was concerned in it, he was more sinned against than sinning; and that the vote of the House of Commons was dictated, in a great measure, by party-spirit and the personal influence of Sir R. Walpole
, who chose to consider himself as disobliged by the steady support which Lord Barrington, and, through his influence, the dissenting body in general, had given to his predecessor, Lord Sunderland.
Lord Barrington's influence with the Dissenters, especially with the Presbyterians, to which body he himself belonged, was at all times very great, and was uniformly exerted in promoting a regard to those enlarged and liberal principles of religious liberty on which alone their secession from the church could be fully vindicated.
This was particularly the case on the occasion of the celebrated Salters
'-hall controversy, when there is every reason to believe that several members of the liberal majority acted as they did, in a great measure, in consequence of his opinion and advice.
, who declined voting at all on this occasion, speaks of himself as earnestly
importuned to come forward by some of the principal leaders of the party for subscribing, in order, as they expressed it, ‘to prevent Mr. Barrington Shute
's endeavour to break the body of ministers to pieces.’4
Among the multitude of pamphlets which issued from the press on this occasion, was one attributed to Mr. Barrington
, entitled ‘An Account of the late Proceedings of the Dissenting Ministers
'-hall, with some Thoughts concerning the Imposition of human forms for Articles of Faith;’ also, ‘A Letter to J. B. Shute
,’ by Mr. T. Bradbury
, one of the most zealous and active of the party who sought to impose their own confessions of faith on their brethren.
had been, till this time, a member of Mr. Bradbury
's congregation; but, from this time forward, left him, and became a hearer of Dr. Jeremiah Hunt
, one of the most eminent of the class who were now beginning to be called liberal or rational Dissenters.
He had, in all probability, long before this time embraced Antitri-nitarian sentiments; though, as far as we can judge from his writings, he never proceeded further in this direction than a high form of Arianism.
Still he would have been not less averse to impose his own opinions than those of any other man, as a condition of religious communion, or as necessary to entitle a religious professor to the name of a Christian disciple.
He had a high value for the sacred writings; and it is evident, from his theological works, that he was eminently skilled in them; well versed in the original languages, and accustomed to make them the objects
of his diligent and habitual study.
He valued no society more highly than that of those learned men with whom he could enter fully into the interesting and important questions which arose in pursuing the studies to which they were alike attached; and when, as was frequently the case, one or more such men as Hunt
, or Lardner
, or Chandler
, or Benson
, were among his visitors—men who would have been an ornament to any church, both for their learning and for the other graces which we desire to see united in divines and ministers of Christ
—it was their custom to discuss such topics with that openness and freedom which is the peculiar privilege of enlightened and well-instructed minds, untrammelled by the arbitrary restrictions of any human authority, and free to follow the light of truth into whatever path it appeared to lead.
They had also the occasional company at these learned conferences of one of the most remarkable of the freethinkers of that period, Mr. Anthony Collins
, who was a neighbour of Lord Barrington's in Essex
, and a frequent visitor at his house.
In one of their conversations, Mr. Collins
is said to have observed, that he had a very great respect for the memory of St. Paul
; and added, ‘I think so well of him, who was both a man of sense and a gentleman, that if he had asserted he had worked miracles himself, I would have believed him.’
Lord Barrington immediately produced a passage in which that Apostle asserts his having wrought miracles; (perhaps 1 Cor. XIV. 18;) Mr. Collins
appeared somewhat disconcerted, and soon after took his hat and quitted the company.
B. in another conversation, asked Mr. Collins
what was the reason that, though he seemed himself to have very little faith in the doctrines of religion, he yet took great care that his servants should attend regularly at church, his reply was, that he did this to prevent their robbing or murdering him.5
In 1725, Lord Barrington published his ‘Miscellanea Sacra,’ the work by which he is chiefly known as a theologian, and has acquired a reputation in this department of literature which is likely to endure.
It exhibits the fruit of much learning and research, and contains many remarks and suggestions which are well worthy of attention, as throwing much valuable light on Scripture history, and especially on one of the most obscure chapters of it, the nature and distribution of the gifts of the Spirit, and the constitution of the primitive churches as depending on and influenced by them.
At the same time it must be confessed, that his reasoning proceeds, in many instances, on assumptions which, if not altogether gratuitous and hypothetical, are at least founded on imperfect and unsatisfactory data, and, in the absence of distinct and definite original information, often require us to lay a stress on certain incidental allusions, or obscure and vague expressions, which it is very doubtful whether they will bear.
We would not, by any means, discourage the spirit of active and searching inquiry, which, not contented with passively receiving what is directly told us, seeks to cross-examine the witnesses, and ingeniously put together the passing hints which are scattered through their writings, so as to infer from
them much more than they ever meant to tell.
On the contrary, we are aware that in this way much curious and valuable information has been often elicited, throwing a clearer light on many otherwise ill-understood passages both of sacred and profane history; but still a distinction must be drawn between what is learned from the direct testimony of competent witnesses, and the mere results of inference and conjecture.
In the introduction, the author has given an abstract of the scripture history of the apostles, arranged in chronological order; fixing the dates of the principal events recorded with great probability on the whole, though some points are, of necessity, in a great measure conjectural, and founded on imperfect evidence.
Thus he assumes, that it was not till the trance which St. Paul
speaks of as taking place when he was worshiping in the temple, (Acts XXII. 14,) and which he takes it for granted was the same with that which is referred to (2 Cor. XII. 2) where he speaks of having been caught up to the third heaven, that he was advanced to the character and entered on the functions of an apostle; being then, and not till then, appointed to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles.
Peter, under the direction of a special revelation, had indeed baptized Cornelius
; but it does not appear that either he, or any of his brethren, addressed themselves to any but the devout
Gentiles who had already acknowledged the divine origin of the Mosaic law, though they did not conform to its ritual.
Lord Barrington distributes the history of the apostles' preaching into a succession of periods, according to the steps by which it was gradually
opened out, so as to be addressed indiscriminately to all classes.
At first it is clear that the Gospel was preached only to Jews, and to proselytes in the strictest sense of that word, those, namely, who had submitted to the rite of circumcision, and conformed to the ritual law in all its extent.
To this class many writers give the distinctive name of proselytes of righteousness.
But besides these, there is said to have been another class, called ‘proselytes of the gate,’ who had formally abandoned polytheism and idolatry, but had not bound themselves by the restrictions of the Jewish ritual.
Now, it is assumed by our author that Cornelius
was a proselyte of this description, and, therefore, that at his conversion the door of the church was still not thrown wide open for the admission of all mankind.
This second period of partial extension he supposes to terminate in the year 45, with the separation of Paul
for a peculiar mission, as recorded in Acts XIII. 1.
Then, according to him, really began the conversion of the heathen, of whom the first fruit was Sergius Paulus
, the Roman
governor of Cyprus
; but the harvest of idolatrous Gentiles was for the first time brought into the church when the apostles openly declared their determination to turn to them from the Jews at Antioch
, in Pisidia.
From this time forward St. Paul
so exercised his mission as to receive, by way of eminence, the distinctive title of Apostle of the Gentiles.
But even now, our author conceives that this complete publication of the comprehensive scheme of their religion was unknown to the other apostles, and that it continued for four years longer without its being in the least degree suspected by any one at Jerusalem
that any of the
Gentiles had been admitted into the church.
In the year 49 commenced the second
period of the conversion of the heathen, when the appeal was made to the apostles and elders at Jerusalem
, recorded in the fifteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.
At this meeting St. Paul
disclosed to Peter, James
, and John, but as he himself states (Gal.
II. 2) privately, to them which were of reputation, the doctrine which he preached to the Gentiles.
But it continued a profound secret, unknown to the other apostles, and more especially to the general body of the Jewish Christians
, till St. Paul
's last visit to Jerusalem
, in the year 58, when its open avowal created so violent a commotion.
From this time forward to the subversion of the Jewish polity constitutes the third
period of the conversion of the heathen.
In the view thus given by Lord Barrington of the gradual opening of the comprehensive scheme for the salvation of all men by the Gospel, there is some truth, mixed up, probably, with a good deal of fanciful conjecture.
We cannot easily believe that even the apostles were so obstinately blind to the obvious import of Peter's vision as not to perceive that the wall of partition was now completely broken down.
Nor can we readily imagine that the proceedings of Paul
and his adherents should remain so long concealed, or escape the observation and censure of those among their countrymen whose prejudices were so strong, and whose hostility was so much excited by any thing which tended to infringe on their rigid notions of their exclusive privileges.
The distinction on which he lays so much stress between two supposed different classes of proselytes is at least
dubious; though it is also assumed by many other eminent and learned writers.
, and Doddridge
in the notes to his ‘Expositor,’ seem to have done much to shew that it is alto-,gether imaginary, and that the name was given to none but such as complied in all points with the requisitions of the Mosaic law, and thus became, to all intents and purposes, Jews.
Lord Barrington's Essay on the Gifts of the Spirit shews much ingenuity and research, and a careful examination of all the passages which could by any means throw light on this very obscure inquiry.
He takes great pains to explain the meaning of the different expressions used by St, Paul
in describing these gifts, and his conjectures are as likely to be true as those of any other writer who has attempted to investigate this difficult subject.
This, it may be thought, is not saying much; for the fact is, that the accounts of the communication of spiritual gifts in the Acts, and the casual references occasionally made to them in the Epistles, though, doubtless, abundantly intelligible to those to whom they were addressed, who were familiar with the exercise of such powers both by themselves and others, are too imperfect to be made the basis of any preciseand definite theory.
But though we may not be altogether satisfied either with Lord Barrington's or with any other account of the distinction between the ‘word of wisdom’ and the ‘word of knowledge,’ or clearly understand the respective factions of ‘prophets’ and ‘teachers,’ or what is meant by ‘helps’ and ‘governments,’ as described by the Apostle, or rather taken for granted as things perfectly well known to his correspondents;
yet the passages in which they are thus obscurely referred to are by no means the least interesting or valuable portion of the Epistles.
On the contrary, from the very circumstance of the passing and incidental manner in which the mention of these things is introduced by the writer, as a matter of course,—as one of those ordinary, every-day facts about which neither he nor the members of the Corinthian church
could have a moment's doubt or hesitation,—we derive a most valuable argument in proof of the reality of these gifts, and, consequently, of the divine authority of the Christian
The second Essay is devoted to an inquiry into the distinction of the characters of apostles, elders, and brethren in the primitive church.
The third is employed in determining the time when Paul
were called by special appointment to the apostolic office.
In the fourth he endeavours to shew that the epistle or decree of the apostles respecting the abstinence from blood, &c., was addressed not to all Gentile converts, but only to such as had previously been proselytes of the gate.
We have already observed, that this distinction, on which Lord Barrington and Dr. Benson
, with some other learned writers, lay so much stress, is, perhaps, not supported by sufficient evidence; and, in fact, as the abstinence recommends ed by the apostles seems to have been regarded as a sort of compromise for the sake of peace, the reason given for it applying equally to all classes of Gentile converts in every place where
a synagogue of the Jews existed, and where, consequently, it might be expected that Jewish
believers would also be found, with whom it was desirable to cultivate the amicable relations and intercourse of Christian brethren,—it is difficult to see the grounds on which this opinion can be maintained.
As it was, after all, a question not of principle, but merely of expediency, or compliance with the customs and prejudices of their Jewish
brethren, who till now had formed the whole of the church, and were all zealous for the law,—so it would naturally cease with the reason for it when this class of disciples ceased to exist; as, on the other hand, it may possibly revive on a change of circumstances, if any church of Jewish Christians should again be formed.
In the Essay ‘On the Dispensations of God to Mankind as revealed in the Scriptures,’ first published in 1725, it is the author's object to shew the ‘single notion,’ as he expresses it, that runs through the whole, in order to make it appear that they are part of one general plan, and thus display the connexion of the several parts, and, in unity of revealed truth, the strongest evidence that can attend it. ‘If it shall appear that there is one worthy and noble design pursued through the books of the Old
and New Testament, though they had forty or more different authors, and were not written in less than 1600 years, it will amount to the clearest demonstration that the Bible
cannot be the work of enthusiasts writing in different ages.
And will not every one then see, that it must have been from Him who exists through all ages, and sees what is past, present, and to come?’
This one object he takes to be
displaying the glory of God's perfections, particularly his moral perfections; or, which will come to the same thing, to assist our reason in doing what is right, and thereby pursuing our own happiness, and promoting the happiness of others in the best manner we can, as long as our present being lasts and as we have other beings around us. The idea of this dissertation is excellent, and it contains many valuable observations, the result of much study and a diligent examination of Scripture.
Of the manner in which he has endeavoured to develop this idea, different readers will vary in their estimates, according to the extent to which they agree or differ with the author in the adoption of various doctrinal opinions and principles of interpretation.
In the edition of Lord Barrington's theological works published in 1828 by the Rev. George Townsend
, there is added his Lordship's part of a correspondence with Dr. Lardner
on the subject of this dissertation, and in defence of some positions in it which the Doctor
had called in question.
He vindicates them at considerable length, and with acuteness and ability, though, in a great measure, by a repetition of the same principles and modes of interpretation which he had already used.
It would have added greatly to the interest of these letters if we could also have seen Dr. Lardner
In the same manner it would have been very interesting to have had an opportunity of knowing, from his own remarks on it, the impression made on Lord Barrington by Lardner
's celebrated letter on the Logos; for that he was the person represented under the fictitious designation of Papinian has been long well understood.
feel it difficult to persuade ourselves, that a person of so much learning and candour, and so well able to appreciate the true merit of an argument on a question like this, should fail to be struck with the force of Lardner
's reasoning; and cannot but think that it would, at least, tend materially to shake the confidence with which he maintained his Arian views, if it did not lead him to abandon them altogether.
But on this subject we have no means of attaining any certain information.
After the unpleasant affair already mentioned, which deprived him of his seat in parliament, Lord Barrington seems to have taken no further active part in public business; but lived chiefly in retirement, occupying himself, for the most part, with those literary and theological pursuits in which he was so well versed, and in which he appears to have taken great delight.
He was, however, prevailed on,7
contrary to his inclination, and in apparent prejudice to his health and affairs, to become a candidate at the general election in 1727, and might have been chosen, if his principles would have permitted him to give a bribe of forty pounds; but he had too strict a regard for the interest of his country to countenance corruption, and trifle with the sacredness of oaths.
He died at Becket
, his seat in Berkshire
, after an illness of only seven hours, on the 14th of December, 1734, in the fifty-sixth year of his age.
As a theological writer, Lord Barrington is certainly entitled to stand high.
His learning was correct and extensive, and his diligence and research remarkable; especially in one who pursued
investigation of this kind from no professional motive, but merely for his own private satisfaction.
In the account we have given of his principal work, we have called in question some of his conclusions; but it contains, nevertheless, much ingenious criticism, and many valuable suggestions, which other writers have enlarged on to advantage.
His example and advice were evidently of great service to Benson
, and, probably, to others who contributed to the high reputation for theological attainments deservedly enjoyed by the English Presbyterians
of the earlier part of the last century.
He is also remarkable for ingenuousness and candour, in which, as in other respects, he is a model to theological writers, the vehemence of whose zeal for controverted opinions too often evinces not so much a pure conviction of their truth and importance, as the extent to which they have connected the idea of self
with the opinions they have once advanced.
‘I cannot but despise,’ says he, ‘the conduct of those writers who will put on the appearance of assurance and certainty in points where they are far from being at that certainty which they affect so much to be thought to have; and every one must have a much worse opinion of those who give themselves this air only to serve private or party views.
The first proceeds from a degree of pride, to which human nature is more easily carried; while the second arises from a degree of dishonesty, which has been contracted by lower acts of it, repeated from time to time, till it is grown habitual, and ends in venturing on this high injury to mankind.
The first moral virtues of a writer are to divest himself of these enormous
passions; to search for truth alone, and to propose his conclusions to his reader with that degree of evidence and certainty, or of doubt and difficulty, which they have in his own mind.
He is required to consider himself as accountable to God for misleading any man by the superiority of his talents; and as accountable to his reader for the insolence of endeavouring to impose on him by means of any real or imagined advantage he has over him. If these virtues were practised by every writer, we should receive more profit from the best and less hurt from the worst, than we now reap from either of them; and writing would then be in the best state that this state of imperfection will allow.’8
Lord Barrington, though sincerely attached to the cause of the Dissenters, did not consider an occasional conformity as inconsistent with that character; and he probably carried this sort of compliance to a length which we should find it difficult to reconcile to our principles.
This is, however, the almost unavoidable result of an elevated rank, in exposing those who occupy it to temptations, from whose influence humbler men may think themselves happy to be exempted.
That the consequence was, his family altogether deserting the cause of which their father had been the advocate and ornament, can excite little surprise.
Lord Barrington left six sons, one of whom died young; while the other five all entered into public life, and arrived at high stations in their respective departments.
The eldest, who, of course, succeeded to his father's honours, filled
successively the offices of Secretary at War
, and Chancellor
of the Exchequer; another became a Judge, and a third a General, a fourth an Admiral, and the youngest, Shute Barrington
, who entered the church, was raised to the Bishopric, first of Llandaff
, afterwards of Salisbury
and of Durham
; in which last eminent station he died, at a very advanced age, in 1826.