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Richard William Church
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 378 pages of information about Occasional Papers.

XXV

BISHOP FRAZER[29]

  [29]
  Guardian, 28th October 1885.

Every one must be deeply touched by the Bishop of Manchester’s sudden, and, to most of us, unexpected death; those not the least who, unhappily, found themselves in opposition to him in many important matters.  For, in spite of much that many people must wish otherwise in his career as Bishop, it was really a very remarkable one.  Its leading motive was high and genuine public spirit, and a generous wish to be in full and frank sympathy with all the vast masses of his diocese; to put himself on a level with them, as man with man, in all their interests, to meet them fearlessly and heartily, to raise their standard of justice and large-heartedness by showing them that in their life of toil he shared the obligation and the burden of labour, and felt bound by his place to be as unsparing and unselfish a worker as any of his flock.  Indeed, he was as original as Bishop Wilberforce, though in a different direction, in introducing a new type and ideal of Episcopal work, and a great deal of his ideal he realised.  It is characteristic of him that one of his first acts was to remove the Episcopal residence from a mansion and park in the country to a house in Manchester.  There can be no doubt that he was thoroughly in touch with the working classes in Lancashire, in a degree to which no other Bishop, not even Bishop Wilberforce, had reached.  There was that in the frankness and boldness of his address which disarmed their keen suspicion of a Bishop’s inevitable assumption of superiority, and put them at their ease with him.  He was always ready to meet them, and to speak off-hand and unconventionally, and as they speak, not always with a due foresight of consequences or qualifications.  If he did sometimes in this way get into a scrape, he did not much mind it, and they liked him the better for it.  He was perfectly fearless in his dealings with them; in their disputes, in which he often was invited to take a part, he took the part which seemed to him the right one, whether or not it might be the unpopular one.  Very decided, very confident in his opinions and the expression of them, there yet was apparent a curious and almost touching consciousness of a deficiency in some of the qualities—­knowledge, leisure, capacity for the deeper and subtler tasks of thought—­necessary to give a strong speaker the sense of being on sure ground.  But he trusted to his manly common sense; and this, with the populations with which he had to deal, served him well, at least in the main and most characteristic part of his work.

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