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A see for a Cecil (II)

28 October 2016

October 27th, 1916.

Sir, — The Church Times is always so fair that you will, I feel sure, allow a priest in Exeter diocese to say that he has heard on all sides expressions of thankfulness for the recent appointment. We had been threatened with the name of more than one Latitudinarian devoid of parochial experience, and rejoice that we are to have a hard-working parish priest able to sympathize with and advise the clergy of this scattered diocese, because he has done their work himself and done it successfully.

We venture to think that had Lord William Cecil been “plain John Smith” his abilities would have obtained earlier recognition. A century ago the holding of half the bishoprics by the titled aristocracy was a scandal. Recently the exclusion of men of such rank from responsible office has been almost a scandal.

Exeter diocese, with its memories of Patteson, Steere, Hannington, Hordern, and the late Bishop Bickersteth, has a special interest in foreign missions of all schools of thought, and Lord William’s interest in them makes him specially welcome. A plain and homely speaker is more wanted for the rustic confirmees than a great scholar, and here again the bishop-designate’s parochial record will make him most acceptable in our hundreds of Devon villages. . .

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