In 1870 he was elected a member of the first school board for Birmingham; and for the next six years, and especially after 1873, when he became leader of a majority and chairman, he actively championed the Nonconformist opposition to denominationalism.
This having no effect, he issued the most outspoken of his works, De septem ecclesiae statibus, in which he reviewed the work of the reforming councils of his time, and, without touching the question of doctrine, championed a drastic reform of life and practice of the church on the lines laid down at Constance and Basel.
The council was a power in politics only when manipulated by a great state, as Thebes, Macedon or Aetolia, and in such a case its decrees were most likely to give offence by their partisanship. Although the council sometimes championed the Hellenic cause, as could any association or individual, it never acquired a recognized authority over all Greece; and notwithstanding its frequent participation in political affairs, it remained essentially a religious convocation.
To Burlingame's appointment as minister to Austria (March 22, 1861) the Austrian authorities objected because in Congress he had advocated the recognition of Sardinia as a first-class power and had championed Hungarian independence.
A pamphlet written in 1885 for an association called the Empire League by Mr Charles Leonard, who afterwards consistently championed the cause of civil equality and impartial justice in South Africa, maintained as follows: " (1) That the establishment of the English government here was beneficial to all classes; and (2) that the withdrawal of that government would be disastrous to every one having vested interests in the colony..