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tion of his province, was altogether new (excepting Abbot's, CHARLES last year); neither does it appear that Neile, archbishop of York, followed the precedent. But from hence it must not be inferred, that Laud was so far an Erastian as to believe his episcopal authority derived from the crown'. No; he disclaims this opinion at his trial. The report, therefore, of these matters, was only to inform his majesty of the state of the Church ; to engage his countenance, and dispose him to abet the spiritual
I shall now break off the history at home, and attend the affairs of the Church in Ireland. On the 14th of July the parliament met at Dublin castle. Before I proceed to the statutes which concern religion, I shall give the reader part of the convocation's address, for the better maintenance of the rural clergy. It stands thus :
The Irish convoca
“ To our dread Sovereign Charles, by the grace of God King of
763. Great Britain, France, and Ireland :“The humble petition of his highness's most loyal and devoted
subjects, the archbishops and bishops of Ireland, assembled in convocation by his majesty's special command,
Paper-office. “ Showeth unto your sacred majesty,
That, in the whole Christian world, the rural clergy have A.D. 1634. not been reduced to such extreme contempt and beggary as in this your highness's kingdom, by the means of the frequent dress to the appropriations, commendams, and violent intrusions into their king. undoubted rights in times of confusion, having their churches ruined, their habitations left desolate, their tithes detained, their glebes concealed; and, by inevitable consequence, an invincible necessity of a general non-residence imposed upon them, whereby the ordinary subject has been left wholly destitute of all possible means to learn true piety to God, loyalty to their prince, civility towards one another, and whereby former wars and insurrections have been occasionally both procreated and maintained : whereas, by settling a rural clergy, endowed with competency to serve God at his altar, besides the general protection of the Almighty, which it will most surely bring
I Had Erastus stated that episcopal authority is derived from God through the crown, he would have been orthodox; but he carried his theory too far, and fell into heretical sophistries.
LAUD, upon your majesty and this kingdom, barbarism and superstiAbp. Cant.
tion will be expelled, the subject shall learn his duty to God and his sovereign, and true religion be propagated.
“ Our most humble suit is, that your highness would be graciously pleased, for God's cause and for his Church's cause, and for the encouragement of others by your royal example to so good a work, to perfect the pious intentions of your blessed father and your sacred majesty, by establishing upon a rural and resident clergy those appropriations which are yet in the crown undisposed : so as the same may bring no diminution to your revenue, nor considerable prejudice to the rights of the imperial crown of this realm, as by a representation of the true state of these benefices, made to the lord deputy and hereunto annexed, may appear,” &c.
By this address, it is evident the king's letters-patent for restoring impropriations were not fully executed.
To proceed : our Nine-and-Thirty Articles were received by this convocation. In the year 1615, the Irish Church had settled upon a different belief from the English Reformation, as has been already observed. The lord primate Usher being now Calvinistically inclined, and having a considerable ascendant over the bishops and clergy, the ratifying the Irish Articles was moved in both houses. This point would most probably have been carried, had not the business been dexterously managed by some members of a different persuasion. The suggestion was, that these Articles, passed in the year 1615, were already fortified with all the authority that the Church could give them; and that a further confirmation would imply a defect in their constitution. The blow being thus put by, they advanced to a further step, and moved the primate, that, for silencing the Papists' objections of disagreement amongst the Protestants, and bringing the British and Irish Churches to a closer correspondence,-to this purpose they moved the primate, a canon might be passed for approving the Articles of the Church of England. The archbishop being gained to this proposal, the canon was drawn up, and passed nemine contradicente, a single vote only excepted. It seems one Calvinist had looked deeper than the rest into the matter. The canon, which approved and received the Articles of the Church of England, was couched in the following words : viz.
Cf the Agreement of the Church of England and Ireland
in the Profession of the same Faith. “ For the manifestation of our agreement with the Church They receive of England, in the confession of the same Christian faith, and nine Arti doctrine of the sacraments, we do receive and approve the cles of the Book of Articles of religion, agreed upon by the archbishops England. and bishops, and the whole clergy, in whole convocation, holden at London, A.D. 1562, for the avoiding of diversities of opinions, and for the establishing of consent touching true religion. And therefore, if any hereafter shall affirm, that any of those Articles are in any part superstitious and erroneous, or such as he may not with a good conscience subscribe unto, let him be excommunicated, and not absolved before he makes a public revocation of his error.'
Hist. of the
It has been affirmed, that the Irish Articles above-mentioned were formally nulled by this convocation. But, in disproof of this assertion, archbishop Usher's testimony is cited by a considerable historian. However, this entire receiving the Nine- L'Estrange, and-Thirty Articles, without the least reserve, implies a virtual Reign of abrogating their own : this, I say, is the necessary consequence,
K. Charles. as far as there is any inconsistency between the English and Irish Articles : for this canon being the last act of the Irish Bishop Church, it must, like a last will, stand in force against all prior Life, by declarations of a contrary import.
Parr, p. 42. To go on to the parliament at Dublin : I shall begin with the act for confirming eight entire subsidies, granted by the prelates and clergy. The preamble of this grant, addressed to the king, sets forth the miserable condition of the Church of Ireland at king James's accession to the throne. And here, after having represented the calamity of the clergy, much in the same manner already mentioned in their petition, they proceed to this acknowledgment : “ That now,"—to use their own Their acwords,—“ by the piety and bounty of your blessed father, and ment to the by the gracious influence of your sacred majesty, being new king. enlivened, and beginning to lift up our heads out of darkness and obscurity, do freely acknowledge, to your immortal glory, before God and the whole Christian world, that as no Church under heaven did ever stand more in need, so none did ever find more royal and munificent patrons and protectors, than
LAUD, the poor Church of Ireland. You have not only made restituAbp. Cant.
tion of that which the iniquity of former ages had bereft us of, but also, as though you intended to expiate their faults, enriched us with new and princely endowments : all which great favours do yet become more sweet unto us whilst we entertain them as pledges of your future unexhausted goodness. And if we do not seriously endeavour, throughout our whole lives, to make unfeigned expressions of true loyalty and thankfulness to your sacred majesty, we deserve to be condemned by men, and punished by God, as monsters of ingratitude. To which infinite obligations, and many others, we may add your majesty's
inestimable goodness in providing for us our present deputy, Irish Acts. Thomas, viscount Wentworth, a governor so just, careful, pro10 Charles I. vident, and propitious to the Church.” Irish Acts This parliament, at their next session, began, after prorogathe Church. tion, on the 24th of March, passed an act against cursing and 760*. swearing. It is much the same with that made in England in
the twenty-first year of king James, cap. 20. Another proviId. cap. 1. sion with reference to religion, in the Irish parliament, is “ An
Act to enable the restitution of Impropriations and Tithes,
and other rights ecclesiastical, to the Clergy, with a restraint Id. cap. 2. of alienating the same." The next act, which is the last I
shall mention, provides “for the preservation of the inheritance, rights, and profits, belonging to the Church and persons ecclesiastical.” By this statute, “all feoffinents, gifts, grants, leases, alienations, &c., made or done after the 1st day of June next ensuing, by any archbishops, bishops, deans and chapters, archdeacons, prebendaries, parsons, vicars, masters and governors and fellows of colleges, and masters of hospitals, of any manors, lands, tenements, &c., being parcel of the possession
of any archbishop, bishop, &c., shall be utterly void and of Id. cap. 3.
none effect.” This statute has some provisos, which are too long to mention.
To return to England : this year the city clergy petitioned the king for the benefit of the law, and the due payment of their tithes :
Humbly shewing, that the benefices in London were a clergy's peti
hundred tion for the
years very great ; that the decree now in force due payment provides two shillings and ninepence to be paid upon every of their
1 The pagination of four pages of the folio edition is here irregular: but the irregularity is retained for convenience of reference.
See 37 Hen.
8. cap. 12.
pound rent, without fraud; that, notwithstanding the said CHARLES decree, (the variation of times considered.) they are now very poor and mean, many of them not worth 401. per annum,
the most not 1001., only one-Christ-church, a city impropriation -worth 3501.; that the petitioners have not independent maintenance, and for want thereof are daily thrust upon dangerous and great inconveniences; that this is because the petitioners have no means assigned in the said decree for the discovering of the true value of their said rents by the oath of the parties ; and for that many London landlords (to the defeating the petitioners and endangering their own souls) have and daily do contrive double leases, or make provisos, wherein they call some small part of the true rent by the name of rent, and all the rest (which yet is quarterly paid) by the name of fine, income, or the like, which practice in the year 1620 was signified to be unjust and sacrilegious, under the hands of the reverend bishops and heads of houses of both universities; and, lastly, for that the lord mayor for the time being is our ordinary judge, and the petitioners generally want both ability and leisure to prosecute an appeal from him to the right honourable the lord keeper, or otherwise to wage law with rich and powerful citizens.
May it therefore please the great patron of the Church, your royal majesty, to take into your princely consideration these pressures and grievances of your poor clergy of London, with the causes of the same; and to take such course for redress thereof as to your majesty's great wisdom and clemency shall seem meet.
“And your petitioners shall,” &c.
This petition was graciously received, and several of the The matter privy council were appointed to consider it. About five months the privy
council, and after, they came to a hearing, and the matter was referred by the parties to the king and council. But, in short, the busi- Idem. ness sunk with the referees : prudential considerations, as they are called, struck the cause dead; and the board, it is probable, was not willing to venture disobliging the city with a decision.
This year, the archbishop of Canterbury began his metropolitical visitation in the diocese of Lincoln. And, in the first place, the bishop and the six archdeacons were suspended the exercise of their jurisdiction, during the time of this visitation.