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HE Church Congress of 1881, which attained its majority in
the town of Newcastle-on-Tyne, falls below none of its predecessors, either in the importance of the subjects
selected for discussion, or in the ability of the readers and speakers. One cause of its success was doubtless owing to the bold but wise policy of the Subjects Committee, who determined to exclude no question“ however burning” which was deemed to be of interest. The determination of the Committee was stated by the Right Rev. President in his Inaugural Address. He said : “We have withheld nothing, we have dissembled nothing. We believed that a frank and generous policy, would meet with a frank and generous response.” This belief was fully verified ; for while there was no lack of vigorous and plain speaking, yet perhaps in no former Congress has the spirit of fairnesk, toleration and charity been more marked than in this.
Whatever difficulty there may be in directing Church Congresses to any practical action, the benefit arising from a deliberate discussion of subjects so important as those selected by the Committee cannot be doubted—and the interchange of thought between speakers of different schools, as well as the rousing of a greater interest in Church affairs among the laity, cannot but be productive of good.
It is a matter of much regret that the size and cost of the Report, will not admit any mention of the very successful Working Men and Women's Meetings which were held in Newcastle and the neighbouring towns.
Owing to mismanagement on the part of those who agreed with the Congress Committee to provide full notes of all meetings, several of the MSS. of Readers, and the reporters' notes of speeches have been lost. The consequence of this has been to delay publication, to greatly increase the work of editing, and to render the Report somewhat less valuable as an exact record of what actually was said. Fortunately, however, in nearly every case, the authors of MSS. had duplicate copies, or they had been fully reported in the local papers. An explanatory note is attached to the speeches where a full report could not be given.
Many complaints have been made as to the inaccuracy of the reported speeches. The blame of that must rest with those who were responsible for the reporting. 334101