Page:Distinguished Churchmen.djvu/378

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DISTINGUISHED CHURCHMEN

spoke of the position of Chaplain-General of the Forces as “of more importance than an ordinary Bishopric.” While many people could not bring themselves to agree with the Canon's remarkable description of Bishops as “great overgrown, over-worked clerks,” his view about the Chaplain-General must have been pretty generally shared. At all events, there have been two occasions, at least, on which Bishops have been translated to the office—Bishop Claughton, on the nomination of Lord Cranbrook, and Bishop John Taylor Smith, who quite recently relinquished his cure of souls in Sierra Leone and the Canary Islands in order to preside over the Army Chaplains' Department.

A generation or two back a serious effort was made by the promotion of a Bill in Parliament to give the Chaplain-General the rank and powers of a Diocesan Bishop. Like many another Bill, it went to and fro from the Commons to the Lords, suffering here amendment and there amendment, until when passed on to the world a full-blown Act of Parliament it presented but little of its former self. In fact, under it the powers of the Bishop were to be so curtailed, that it has never been deemed worth while to carry the Act into effect. The Chaplain-General has continued to be what his name implies, unless previously called to the Episcopal Bench; but among the rank and file he is always affectionately known as the “Bishop of the Army.”