« PreviousContinue »
it in England, if he might have such dispensation for outwardly appearing a Protestant at least till he could own himself publicly to be a Catholic, with more security to his own person, and advantage to them. But the good father insisted, that even the pope himself had not the power to grant it, for it was an unalterable doctrine of the Catholic church, not to do ill that good might follow. What this good Jesuite thus said, was afterward confirmed to the duke by the pope himself, to whom he wrott upon the same subject. Till this time his royal highness beleev'd (as it is commonly beleev'd, or at least said, by the church of England doctors) that dispensations in any such cases are by the pope easily granted, but Father Simon's words, and the letter of his holines, made the duke think it high time to declare himself, and not to live in so unsafe and so uneasy a condition."
The date of James's public avowal of the Catholic religion, was some months previous to the Christmas of 1672, yet, after that period, he continued to attend with his brother on the Protestant service. Charles was of a more cautious disposition than his brother, and was alarmed at the temerity of disposition which his subsequent conduct exhibited with regard to religion; he was urgent with him to assume the appearance at least, of holding the Protestant faith. In one of their conversations, startled at James's rashness, Charles is reported to have said, "Brother, I am too old to go again on my travels; you may if you please." Still James refused all compromise; eager, rash, and obstinate, he could not brook delay in the execution of any plan which he had once formed, but precipitately avowed himself a member of the Catholic church. "The difficulties he encountered," says Heywood, "made him more determined in his conduct; and his brother's efforts to recal him to his former religion, the loss of all his employments, and a long train of calamities and humiliations, served only to strengthen his resolution."
From this period, therefore, may be dated the commencement of that struggle which was so long and so perseveringly maintained in parliament against the duke. On the death of Charles, however, James, sensible perhaps that it was expedient to soothe the minds of his new subjects, assembled the council and made a declaration of his determination to support the established religion. This proceeding answered the temporary purpose for which it was desired. It enabled him to ascend the throne without resistance, and procured an ample civil list from the parliament; yet his next step was to solicit from the French king the continuance of his brother's pension. The latter transaction has been justly characterised by Fox as "one of the meanest and most criminal which history records." Hume says, the king found himself by degrees under the necessity of falling into an union with the French monarch, who could alone assist him in promoting the catholic religion in England. In reply to this, Fox observes, that when James's apologetical historian wrote, "these documents had not been made public, from which the account of the communications with Barillon has been taken, and by which it appears, that a connection with France was, as well in point of time, as in importance, the first object of his reign, and that the immediate specific motive to that connection, was the same as that of his brother; the desire of rendering himself independent of Parliament, and absolute, not that of establishing popery in England, which was considered as a more remote contingency. That this was
the case, is evident from all the circumstances of the transaction, and especially from the zeal with which he was served in it by ministers who were never suspected of any leaning towards popery, and not one of whom, (Sunderland excepted), could be brought to the measures that were afterwards taken in favour of that religion. It is the more material to attend to this distinction, because the Tory historians, especially such of them as are not Jacobites, have taken much pains to induce us to attribute the violences and illegalities of this reign to James's religion, which was peculiar to him, rather than to that desire of absolute power, which so many other princes have had, have, and always will have in common with him. The policy of such misrepresentation is obvious. If this reign is to be considered as a period insulated, as it were, and unconnected with the general course of history, and if the events of it are to be attributed exclusively to the particular character, and particular attachments of the monarch, the sole inference will be, that we must not have a Catholic for our king; whereas, if we consider it, which history well warrants us to do, as a part of that system which had been pursued by all the Stuart kings, as well prior, as subsequent to the Restoration, the lesson which it affords is very different, as well as far more instructive. We are taught, generally, the dangers Englishmen will always be liable to, if, from favour to a prince upon the throne, or from a confidence, however grounded, that his views are agreeable to our own notions of the constitution, we, in any considerable degree, abate of that vigilant, and unremitting jealousy of the power of the crown, which can alone secure to us the effect of those wise laws that have been provided for the benefit of the subject; and still more particularly, that it is in vain to think of making a compromise with power, and by yielding to it in other points, preserving some favourite object, such, for instance, as the church in James's case, from its grasp."
It would be greatly to exceed the limits prescribed to us in this article were we to enumerate all the various acts of imprudence and violence by which James pursued affairs to their crisis, during his short and inglorious reign. His introduction of Father Petre to a seat at the council-board; his sending of a solemn embassy to the pope with proposals for a solemn readmission of England into the bosom of the catholic church; his appointment of three additional vicars-general; his re-establishment of that most obnoxious tribunal, the high commission-court; his famous dispute with the university of Oxford, and the arrest of the seven bishops; his patronage of Jefferies and Kirke; his appointment of catholic noblemen to the highest offices in the government of Ireland and Scotland-by these, and other infatuated acts, he effectually succeeded in estranging the affections of the nation from his person and government. All parties now looked towards the prince of Orange to aid them in the recovery of their laws and liberties; even those who were most sincerely attached to the reigning family felt that the interference of the prince of Orange had now become absolutely necessary for the preservation of the British constitution.
Supported alike by whigs and tories, by churchmen and dissenters, the Dutch prince landed at Torbay on the 5th of November, 1688, and instantly marched on Exeter. No one thought of opposing the invader; all hastened to join his standard. At last the army itself be
trayed symptoms of divided allegiance, and James found himself deserted even by his own children. At this crisis of his fortunes, he yielded to despair; and, after making an abortive attempt to escape to the continent, was allowed to withdraw himself from the country. He retired to the French court, where he was well received by Louis XIV. In the meantime, the throne of Great Britain was declared abdicated, and was filled with the consent of the convention, which met to settle the government dissolved by the flight of James, by his eldest daughter, Mary, and her husband, William, conjointly.
James now devoted his attention between the corporal austerities of his religion and those intrigues by which he hoped to recover his power. In 1689, he landed in Ireland, where he was received with open arms by the catholics; but the decisive battle of the Boyne annihilated his hopes in this quarter; and all succeeding projects for his restoration proved equally abortive. He died at St Germains on the 16th of September, 1701.
II. ECCLESIASTICAL SERIES.
BORN A. D. 1544.-DIED A. D. 1610.
THIS prelate was born at Farnworth, in Lancashire, in the year 1544. He took his first degree in arts as a student of Christ college, Cambridge, whence he removed to Jesus college, where he took a master's degree in 1570. Soon after this he was appointed chaplain to Richard Cox, bishop of Ely, who presented him, in 1575, to the rectory of Feversham, in the county of Cambridge. In 1585, he was admitted doctor of divinity, and appointed treasurer of St Paul's cathedral. In 1586, he was presented by the lord-chancellor Hatton, whose chaplain he then was, to the rectory of Cottingham, in Northamptonshire: he was at the same time, also, one of Whitgift's chaplains. On the 12th of January, 1588, he delivered a furious invective against the puritans, in a sermon at St Paul's cross, which the curious reader will find reprinted in Hickes' 'Bibliotheca Script. Eccles. Anglicanæ.' In 1589, Dr Bancroft was promoted to a prebendal stall in St Paul's; in 1592, to the same dignity in Westminster; and in 1594 to a stall in Canterbury. In 1594, he published two works, which created a great sensation at the time of their appearance. The one was intituled 'Dangerous positions and proceedings, published and practised within this island of Britain, under pretence of reformation, and for the presbyterian discipline.' The other was called A Survey of the pretended holy discipline, containing an historical narration of the beginnings, success, parts, proceedings, authority, and doctrine of it.' We have the authority of Whitgift himself for believing that both these works "were liked, and greatly commended by the learnedest men in the
realm;" that is, that they approved themselves highly to the churchparty, who rewarded their author with the see of London, on the death of Richard Fletcher. Bancroft enjoyed Queen Elizabeth's favour, and attended her during her last illness. In the commencement of James's reign, he was one of the chief commissioners on behalf of the church at the famous Hampton-court conference, and took the lead in the disputations. Soon after he was appointed one of the commissioners for regulating the affairs of the church, and for perusing and suppressing books printed in England, or imported into the country, without public authority. In the convocation of 1603-4, Bancroft sat as president, Whitgift having died before its sittings commenced. In October, 1604, he was promoted to the see of Canterbury.
The first acts of the new archbishop were directed to enforce conformity among the clergy of his province. Calderwood informs us that no fewer than three hundred ministers were silenced or deprived for rejecting the terms which Bancroft sought to impose upon them; but Collier denies the accuracy of this statement, and says, that not more than forty-nine were deprived, on any account whatever, throughout the realm. In September, 1605, the archbishop was sworn in one of his majesty's privy council. In 1608, he was elected chancellor of the university of Oxford, in the place of the deceased earl of Dorset. In 1609, he presented a plan to parliament for the better maintenance of the clergy, according to which, among other particulars, he proposed to recover impropriations to poor vicarages, to prevent simony, and to "settle the glebe lands, which, by strong hand, were detained from divers parsons and vicars." The archbishop wished that the lay-impropriators should be made to disgorge a portion of the property of the church which they had got into their hands; but the opposing interest was too strong even for an archbishop to subdue, and the scheme fell to the ground. Bancroft zealously promoted King James's endeavours to bring the episcopalian church of Scotland into a state of conformity with that of England. In 1610, the titular bishops of Glasgow, Brechin, and Galloway, were canonically consecrated by the bishops of London, Ely, Bath, and Rochester. The two archbishops did not take any part in the ceremony, that there might be no ground afforded for the suspicion of any claim of metropolitical power over an independent church. But when, on this occasion, a difficulty was started by the bishop of Ely, who was of opinion that the titular bishops should first be ordained deacons and priests, his objection was over-ruled by Bancroft, who maintained that the episcopal authority might be fully conveyed at once. The archbishop did not long survive this union of the churches. He had been long afflicted with the stone, and that acute disease brought his life to a close at Lambeth, on the 2d of November, 1610. Among other legacies, he left the whole of his library to his successors in the archiepiscopate for ever. During the troubles of the succeeding reign it was transferred by parliament to Cambridge; after the Restoration it was demanded by Archbishop Juxon, and finally recovered by his successor, Sheldon.
Camden has pronounced Archbishop Bancroft "a person of singular courage and prudence, in all matters relating to the discipline and
1 Vol. ii. p. 697.
establishment of the church." Lord Clarendon says that "he understood the church excellently, and had almost rescued it out of the hands of the Calvinian party, and very much subdued the unruly spirit of the nonconformists by and after the conference at Hampton-court; countenanced men of the greatest parts in learning, and disposed the clergy to a more solid course of study than they had been accustomed to; and, if he had lived, would quickly have extinguished all that fire in England which had been kindled at Geneva." The noble historian's confidence in the archbishop's powers will probably create a smile on the part of our readers; but we have the concurrent testimony of Whitgift, Camden, Clarendon, and Fuller, to the fact, that the archbishop was a man of high moral courage, and sound and extensive learning. He has been accused of covetousness, but Fuller himself acquits him of this charge: "True it is," says that historian, “he maintained not the state of officers, like his predecessor or successor, in house-keeping; yet he was never observed, in his person, to aim at the enriching his kindred, but had the intention to make pious uses his public heir. His estate at his
death exceeded not £6,000, no sum to speak a single man covetous, who had sat six years in the see of Canterbury, and somewhat longer in London."3
BORN A. D. 1555.-died a. D. 1626.
LANCELOT ANDREWS, bishop of Winchester in the reigns of James I. and Charles I., was born in the city of London in 1555. His father was master of the Trinity-house. The proficiency which young Lancelot made at Merchant-tailor's school, recommended him to the notice of Dr Walls, residentiary of St Pauls, who bestowed upon him one of his own scholarships in Pembroke hall, Cambridge. After taking his degree of B.A., he obtained a fellowship, and was after presented with an honorary fellowship in Jesus college, Oxford. He was at this time an accomplished Greek and Hebrew scholar, but had gained his highest reputation as a theologian, having devoted himself with unwearied application to divinity for several years. He was chosen catechist of Pembroke-hall, and was much consulted in cases of conscience; and having undertaken to read lectures on the ten commandments every Saturday and Sunday, great numbers resorted to chapel to hear him. At last, Henry, earl of Huntingdon, prevailed on him to attend him, in the quality of chaplain, into the north, of which he was president. In this situation he displayed the most unwearied diligence as a preacher, and was eminently successful in converting catholics to the reformed faith. His merits recommended him to the notice of Sir Francis Walsingham, secretary of state to Queen Elizabeth, who presented him with the vicarage of Cripplegate, and a prebendship in St Pauls. He now read divinity lectures three times a week in St Pauls.
His next step was that of chaplain in ordinary to Queen Elizabeth, who Church Hist. c. x. p. 67.
Hist, of the Rebellion, vol. I, p. 88.