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Clergymen [from the London Saturday Review]

"Clergymen [from the London Saturday Review]." New-York Saturday Press. 12 Jun. 1866: 6.

The author of this commentary discusses the effects of the changes in the Episcopal clergymen’s attire, particularly focusing on the loss of the wig. While members of other social institutions remain bewigged, judges and the Speaker of the House of Commons, the clergy have forgone the tradition. In doing so, according to the author’s citing of Trollope, the clergy has loss its mystique, its overwhelming awesomeness: “But there is something about a wig, irrational as the ornament may appear to the thoughtless, which is peculiarly propitious to majestic dignity.” The author goes on to identify three effects of this change in garb. First, the clergy have been assumed into the “prosaic pattern” of daily life, rather than remaining distanced from the people. Second, the time when a bishop may abuse his power has ended; the parish may exert more control over their clergy. Finally, as a consequence to the increased congregational dominance, the clergy now fear bringing new ideas of faith to their parishioners and maintain a moderate position in all matter.