The cry for official action against the Essayists, unheeded by the episcopate, was taken up by the lower clergy. An occasion for acting in concert arose in the election of the professor of Sanskrit at Oxford. The candidates were Max Muller, the great philologist, and Monier Williams, competent but less distinguished. The massing of clergymen in Oxford was used to hold a meeting at which it was resolved to draw up a petition against the Essayists, addressed to the archbishop of Canterbury, to be signed by a large number of the clergy. The clergy could express themselves more immediately in smaller bodies meeting locally. The most common occasion for gatherings which could draw up petitions was the semi-annual meeting of the clergy of a rural deanery. The agreement of certain bishops to the episcopal manifesto occasioned surprise.