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THE t^/a^iNUc^'^i'^co. 



















VOL. I. 








pruiate of all England, &c. 


In presenting to your Grace 
this Narrative of the life of one of the most 
illustrious of your predecessors, to whose 
merits and public services the deserved 
tribute of praise has not hitherto been paid, 
I feel no common satisfaction in having an 
opportunity afforded me of publicly ex- 
pressing my gratitude for the various obli- 
gations you have been pleased to confer 
upon me, and for the kindness and conde- 
scension with which you have unifonnly 



honoured me, during the time I have served 
you in the situation of domestic chaplain. 
I refrain, because I feel that I ought, 
from bearing my humble testimony to the 
many virtues and talents, best known to 
those who have nearest access to your per- 
son, which enable you to fill so honourably 
and so usefully the high station to which 
you are called. 

I have the honour to be. 

My Lord, 

With great respect. 

Your Grace's most obedient Servant, 


Rectory-house, Lambeth, 
Jan. 2, IS2\. 


The author has nothing to premise to the 
Life of Archbishop Sancroft, except to 
give a summary statement of the different 
sources from which he has collected the 
materials for it. 

In addition to the Life of the Archbishop 
in the Biographia Britannica; the short 
accounts of him prefixed to his Three Ser^ 
monsy and to his Famihar Letters; and 
those in Leneve's Lives of the Protestant 
Archbishops of Canterbury, and in Sal- 
mon's Lives of the English Bishops from 
the Restoration to the Revolution ; he has 
thought it his duty to consult, with refer- 
ence to the pubHc parts of his life, the his- 
tories, memorials, and different pamphlets 
relating to the transactions of the times in 
which he lived. He has met with only 
two publications of any consideration, 



which particularly refer to tlie Archbishop's 
private history ; viz. his Famihar Letters 
addressed to Mr. afterwards Sir Henry 
North (pubUshed in 1757) ; and " A Letter 
out of Suffolk to a Friend in London, giving 
some Account of the last Sickness and 
Death of Archbishop Sancroft" (published 
in 1694). These two tracts are scarce; 
the latter is republished in the collection of 
Lord Somers. 

Among the unpublished documents, of 
which the author has been enabled to avail 
himself, and from which the principal part 
of his materials has been drawn, he has to 

1. Those in the Lambeth MS. hbrary ; 
consisting of some public letters addressed 
to the Archbishop, collections made by 
him, and a few juvenile performances. 
From these MSS. are published in the Ap- 
pendix, by the special permission of his 
Grace the present Archbishop, the very 
curious Life of Henry Wharton, Arch- 
bishop Sancroft's chaplain, with the Letter 
of Dr. Cave relating to him (Appendix, 
No. I.) ; and the two original Letters of 
Dr. Sanderson (Appendix, No. V.) 


2. Those in the British Museum. In 

the Harleian Collection there, (No. 3783 — 
3785.) are three large volumes of letters, 
principally on private matters, addressed 
to Archbishop Sancroft at diflFerent periods 
of his life ; from these, several of the facts 
snd dates relating to his private history 
have been collected. Among the same 
MSS. are twelve volumes (Nos. 3786 — 
3798) of Miscellaneous Collections made 
by him, with occasional marginal notes in 
his own hand^writing. Also, in Dr. Ays- 
cough's Catalogue, among the papers left 
by Dr. Birch (Ayscough's Catalogue, 4223. 
130.) are several documents relating to the 
private history of Archbishop Sancroft. 
Amongst others, we find there, in Dr. 
Birch's hand-writing, abstracts made with 
some care from the three volumes of letters 
above-mentioned in the Harleian Collec- 
tion. From this fact it seems evident, that 
Dr. Birch was, at one time, preparing to 
write a Life of Archbishop Sancroft, and 
was, with this view, making a collection of 
materials. From the papers of the Reve- 
,rend Thomas Baker, and from those of 


Bishop Kennett, some incidental particu- 
lars have also been supplied. 

3. Those in the Bodleian library at Ox- 
ford. The bulk of Archbishop Sancroft's 
papers, containing a very valuable mass of 
historical documents and materials, having 
been purchased by Bishop Tanner, were 
presented by him to that library. They 
contain, relating to the private history of 
the Archbishop, copies of many of his 
letters in his own hand-writing ; several of 
his common-place books ; his thoughts on 
different matters of pubUc business; and 
details respecting some of the remarkable 


transactions in which he was engaged; 
particularly, a narrative of all that took 
place at the interviews of himself and the 
other prelates with King James, previous 
to their trial, and at the time of the Prince 
of Orange's invasion. Some of these papers 
have already been published in a detached 
form in the Appendix to the Letters and 
Diary of Henry Earl of Clarendon ; and 
Miscellanea Curiosa, by the Reverend Mr. 

In addition to these sources of informa^ 


tioD, the author has collected some mate- 
rials from the MSS. of the Rev^- T. Baker, 
at Cambridge, from documents in Emanuel 
College, and from some private papers of 
the Sancroft family, in the possession of the 
Reverend J. Holmes, the present possessor 
of the property which belonged to the 

He has to express his best acknowledg- 
ments to all those who had the above-men- 
tioned papers in their possession, or under 
their charge, for the obUging kindness with 
which they afforded him every facihty in 
inspecting them. 

The plate for the engraving of Arch- 
bishop Sancrofl, at the beginning of these 
volumes, was kindly presented for the use 
of this work by his Grace the Archbishop 
of Canterbury. 







His Birth and Family — Education — Academical Degrees — 
Election to a Fellowship at Emanuel College — Studies — 
Firmness and Uprightness of Character — Refusal to take the 
Oaths of the Covenant and the Engagement — Expulsion 
from his Fellowship page 1 



His Publication of the Fur Praedestinatus and Modem Policies 
— Letters to and from his Friends — Residence in Holland 
— ^Travels to the South of Europe — Return to England at the 
RestoratioD. 64 





He is appointed Chaplain to Bishop Cosin — Sermon on the first 
Consecration of Bishops after the Restoration — Assists in the 
Revision of the Liturgy — Rapid Advancement in the Church 
— Made Prebendary of Durham — ^Dean of York — Master of 
Emanuel — ^Dean of St. PauPs — Archdeacon of Canterbury — 
Takes an important part in forwarding the rebuilding of St. 
Paul's Cathedral — Measures for the advantage of the Church 
— Unexpected elevation to the Primacy — Letter of Congra- 
tulation from the University of Cambridge 108 




State of the Church and Kingdom at the Period of his Eleva- 
tion to the Primacy — Address to James Duke of York to 
convert him from Popery — Greneral Attention to the Duties 
of his Station — Regulations about granting Testimonials — 
Letter respecting the Augmentation of small Vicarages — 
Restoration of Archbishop Parker's Monument — Suspension 
of the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry — Letter to Dr. 
Covel, &c. — Attendance on Charles II. on his Death bed. 157 



Address of the Bishops to King James on his Accession — his 
Coronation by Archbishop Sancroft — Articles for the Regu- 
lation (tf Ordinations and Institutioiif, &c. — King James**. 



EndeaTOun to silenoe the Clergy — Ecclesiastical Commission 
—the Archbishop's Refusal to sit in it — Reasons for this 
Refusal and Effects of it — Letter to the King respecting 
Preferments — Opposition as a GoTemor of the Charterhouse 
to the Dispensing Power — ^Letters from and to Mary, Prin- 
cess of Orange 207 



Declaration for Liherty of Conscience — Order for the Clergy 
to read it — Active measures of the Archbishop respecting it 
— Meeting?} of the Clergy at Lambeth Palace — Petition of the 
Seven Bishops — Appearances before the King and Council 
— Commitment to the Tower — ^Trial — Acquittal — Rejoicings 
and Congratulations thereupon 250 



Articles of Instruction from the Archbishop to the Clergy — 
Scheme of Comprehension projected by him — Progress of 
things towards the Revolution — King James sends for the 
Archbishop and other Bishops — the Archbishop's Address of 
Advice to him — Consequences of this Advice — Umbrage 
given by these Interviews — Letter of Mr. Evelyn to the 
Archbishop on the Subject 317 



Interviews of the Archbishop and Bishops with King James 
respecting their Invitation of the Prince of Orange, and 


. signing a Paper declaring their abhorrence of his Designs — 
Their steady Refusal — Consequences of this Refusal — The 
Archbbhop not chargeable with inconsistency herein. 353 



Address of the Peers to King James — His Answer — His ill 
advised and vacillating Measures — His Flight — Meeting of 
the Peers at Guildhall — their Declaration to the Prince of 
Orange — Remarks upon it — ^Archbishop Suncroft vindicated 
from the Charge of Inconsistency — His Election to the 
Chancellorship of Cambridge — Refusal of it — Letters on the 
Subject 383 



Refusal of the Archbishop to wait on the Prince of Orange, or 
take any part in the public Measures — His views respecting 
the settling of the Government — Appointment of King 
William and Queen Mary to the Throne — Reflections on his 
taking no part in the great public Transactions — His refusal 
to take the new Oath — General regret at his Scruples — 
Attempts of his Friends in his favour — His Suspension and 
Deprivation — Appointment of a Successor — Retains Posses- 
sion of Lambeth Palace till ejected by Law. . . . 409 







Jlis Birth and Family — Education — Academical Degrees — £fcc- 
tion to a Feliawskip at Emanuel College — Studies — Firmness 
and Uprightness of Character — Refusal to take the Oaths of the 
Covenant and the Engagement — Expulsion from his Fellowship, 

It has generally happened to those who have 
risen from private stations to eminence of rank, 
that few particulars respecting the early periods 
of their life are preserved to posterity. Such 
has been peculiarly the case with Archbishop 
Sancroft, for the tracing of whose early his- 
tory the materials are much less abundant than 
might have been expected, considering the na- 
tural partiality to his memory of his friends, 
and admirers, and the respect universally borne 
to his character and virtues. 

VOL. I. B 


William Sancroft, afterwards Archbishop of 
Canterbury, was born at Fresingfield, in the 
county of Suffolk, January 30th, 16 1|. He was 
the second son of Francis Sancroft, by his 
wife Margaret, daughter and co-heiress of 
Thomas Butcher or Boucher ;* being one of a 
numerous family, consisting of two sons and 
six daughters. 

The family of Sancroft was of considerable 
antiquity and respectability, having been set- 
tled at Fresingfield, and having possessed 
property there from the time of Henry HI. 
or Edward I.f About that time, Adam le Ba- 

* The name is variously spelt : it is Butcher in the parochial 
register of the marriage, as copied by the Archbishop's own 
hand ; and Boucher in the pedigree now existing, written by 
the same hand. 

t Henry Wharton, chaplain to Archbishop Sancroft, has 
made the following note respecting the Sancroft family :— 
'* Familia de Sancroft sedem habuit apud Sancroft Stadbroke 
et Fresingfield, amplasque ibidem et in vicinia posscssiones 
obtinuit, a tempore saltem Edwardi I Regis, quod constat ex 
plurimis instnimentis autenticis, quaj vidi .penes W. S. A. C. 
(Willm. Sancroft, Archbp. Cant.) See Lambeth MSS. S^T. 
There is now, in the possession of the descendants of the San- 
croft family, the original grant of arms from the IIerald*s office 
to William Sancroft (afterwards the Archbishop) mcnlioned as 
Prebendary of Durham, and Dean of St. Paul's, dated January 
2^, 1663. The grant is to his elder brother Tliomas and to 
himself, described as descended from a very ancient family of 
the same name, which had for many centuries flourished in 


rent, son of Roger le Bavent, Knight, granted 
and confirmed to Henry, son of William San- 
croft and Margery his wife, and the heirs of 
the said Henry, divers tenements of lands *' in 
the parish of Fresingfield or in Stradbrook :" 
and, subsequently to this grant, the property 
had devolved in regular descent on persons of 
the name of Sancroft, who, as may be col- 
lected from the register books of the parish, 
had uniformly resided on it. The Archbishop 
appears to have been particularly curious and 
diligent in tracing out the different records re- 
lating to his family. There exists at present,* 
extracted with his own hand from the register 
books of the parish of Fresingfield, a list of the 
births, marriages, and deaths of all the members 
of the Sancroft family, beginning from the year 
1539 ; also an account of the Charter of Adam 
le Bavent,t and the line of the family pedigree 

those parts. Arms, " In campo argenteo super tignum rubeum 
trcs columbas Candidas inter tot cruces patentes, sanguinci iti- 
dcra coloris." Crest, " Super torque argented et rubed ser- 
pentem viridem crucem sanguineam in ore suo gerentem." 

* In the possession of the Rev. Mr. Holmes, of Gawdy Hall, 
Suffolk, to whom the property of the Sancroft family has de- 

■\ The following is the account of the charter : — " The 
charter of Adam le Bavent, son of Roger le Bavent, Knight, 
whereby he gave, granted, and confirmed, to Henry, the son of 
William of Sandcroft and Margery his wife, and the heirs of 



brought regularly down from the first possessors 
of the property ;* and, together with these, a 
deed relating to property which belonged to 
the family in the time of Henry III. 

The name of the family has been variously 
written, as was frequently the case with proper 
names, in times when little attention was paid 
to correctness of spelling. It is found Sand- 
craft, Sandcrafte, Sandcrofte, Sandcroft, and 
Sancroft-t The Archbishop himself, in the early 

the said Henry, for their homages and services, and fourscore 
marks of silver which they paid, a certain messuage of his, 
together with his houses and buildings, in the parish of Fre» 
singfield, in the hamlet of Chebendale, with all his lands and 
tenements, wheresoever lying, in the said parish of Fresingfield, 
or in Stradbrook, together with all feedings, commons, woods, 
plains, ways, paths, ingresses, egresses, homages, profits, wards, 
reliefs, together with all other things, which may in any-wise 
appertain to him and his heirs, on account of the said tene- 
ment, &c. and this he warrants against all persons, as well 
Jews as Christians, &c. This charter has no date, but it seems 
to be as old as the reign of Henry III. 

* Respecting one of his ancestors, the Archbishop writes 
thus : " Robert Sandcroft, a younger brother of William, (a 
godly man) went with K. Henry VIII. to Bulloin ; and, as he 
went, he was drowned ; the gunns being negligently left, and in 
a rough sea falling all on one side, and so overturning the 

t In a marginal note to the deed already mentioned, of the 
time of Henry III. the Archbishop remarks that " the name is 
here called de Sandcrofte ;" that " in all the deeds of the mes- 
suage till after the 12th of Edward III. the family are called 

[Tofacapftge 4, v*^. i. 




ess of Peter, 
haugh, Esq. 
^inpsted, &c. 

Peter Gooch, of 
^et*s of Ilkeshall. 

J0B», 4 



Deborah, Wife of 

George Borret, of 







part of his life, wrote the name Sandcroft, but 
in the latter part, uniformly Sancroft, probably 
from having satisfied himself by inspecting the 
family records that this was the best authorized 
and the most correct.* 

It is statedf that William Sancroft, the sub- 
ject of this memoir, received his education at 
Bury, and that in his early years he afforded 
many proofs of his future greatness, in the 

dc Sancroft, and, after that, Sancraft and Sandcroft : only 
Simon (32 Edward I.) writes de Sandcroft." In the extracts 
from the parish register books, made by the Archbishop, the 
name is written Sancroft from the year 1539 to 1553; from 
the latter period to l646, always with the d in the first sylla- 
ble, Sandcrafte, Sandcrofte, and Sandcroft : subsequently to the 
latter date, uniformly Sancroft, without the d inserted and with- 
out the final e. It is a curious proof of the looseness which 
prevailed in spelling this family name, that in the Harleian MS. 
in the British Museum (No. 3785.8) is a letter dated Decem- 
ber 2, l63l, from Francis Sandcrofte " to my loving brother 
Mr. Dr. Sandcroft,** (apparently from the father to the uncle 
of the Archbishop), in which the same writer spells the name 
differently in signing the letter and in the superscription of it. 
In the Harleian catalogue, the mode of spelling it Sandcroft 
has been adopted ; but this must be deemed erroneous, as 
being opposed to the authority of the Archbishop, after he had 
inquired closely into the matter. 

* The latest period at which I have observed the family 
name written Sandcroft by the Archbishop, is in a letter to his 
father, dated January 11, 164^. His father died very shortly 
after this, and then it probably was that he altered his mode of 
writing it by omitting the d. 

t See Biographia Britaunica. 



piety which he exhibited, and the extraordi- 
nary advances which he made, exceeding the 
expectations of his instructors, in various 
branches of useful learning. 

The following* is a copy of Latin verses, exist- 
ing in his own hand- writing ; composed by him 
evidently while a school-boy, and addressed to 
his father. The lines must be regarded with 
the indulgence due to a school-boy's composi- 
tion, and are merely curious as exhibiting a 
specimen of the early compositions of one who. 
afterwards attained such high distinction. — 


£n jam praeteriit nulli revocabilis annus, 

Et fausto bifrons omine Janus adest. 
Ac jam quisque suos streni donabit amicos, 

Et dare nunc omnes munera larga solent. 
Debeo me tibimet (genitor charissime) totum, 

Quas igitur strenas, munera quaive dabo ? 
Ecce tuus partes dum sese vertit in omnes 

Natus, te dignum repperit hercle nihil. 
Tandem, constitui pingui crass&que Minervft, 

Ut potui, tibimet carmina pauca dare. 
Hoc tandem potui, volui majora, sed ista 

Carmina (chare pater) consule, quaeso, boni. 
Annus ut incipiat felici sydere presens, 

Vento ut procedat prosperiore tibi, 
Exitu^ utque hujus tibi sit lastissimus anni, 

Supplicibus votis oro precorque Deum. 

♦ See Tann. MSS. in the Bodleian, No. 465. 


Annus in assiduo qui circumvolvitur orbe, 

Jam solitum solito fine peregit iter. 
Sed uon desistet solitum decurrere cufsum, 

Incipit exacto posteriore sequens. 
Qui jam prsteriit, non est reparabilis annus. 

Nee revocare potes, quae periere, dies. 
Det DeuSy ut tempus, quod jam tibi restat agendum, 

Et pietate teras, officiisque piis. 
Parteque sic meliore tui super astra volabis, 

Corporis ut fuerint vincla soluta tui. 
Filius tuus observantissimus 

Gulielmus Sandcroftus. 

When he arrived at the age of eighteen, he 
was sent to the University of Cambridge, as a 
member of Emanuel College. He was ad- 
mitted on the matricula of the University, July 
3d, 1634. His destination to Emanuel College 
was determined, no doubt, by the circumstance 
of his uncle. Dr. William Bancroft, being at 
that time Master of the college: he was de- 
prived indeed of this relative and patron before 
he had passed through his academical course ; 
still he must be deemed peculiarly fortunate in 
having commenced it under such superintend- 
ence, considering how important it is to a young 
man, at so critical a period of life, to be 
placed under the observation and controul of 
an elder friend, who may assist in directing his 
demeanour and his studies. His tutor was Mr. 
Ezekiel Wright, afterwards Rector of Thurcas- 



ten, in Leicestershire. Towards this gentle- 
man he appears in the later periods of his life 
to have borne peculiar respect. In a letter ad- 
dressed to him after a lapse of some years, he 
expresses, in the following warm and glowing 
terms, his feelings of gratitude for the bene- 
fits he had derived from his instruction and 

* It were ingratitude beyond all excuse, if I 
should forget what direction and encourage- 
ment I received from you in my studies, while 
your counsel was both card and compass to me 
in my course, and your favour the gale that 
filled my sails. God return into your bosom 
seven-fold the kindness which I have found 
from you ; and may I be happy once in an op- 
portunity to let you see how glad I would be 
to serve you.'* 

Of the manner in which he prosecuted his 
studies in the course of his academical educa- 
tion, no particular record is preserved ; only it 
is stated generally,t that, during this period, 
the accomplishments which he acquired in hu- 

♦ See Tanner's MSS. v. 6l. p. 66. The letter is dated 
August 19th, without expressing the year; but, as it is placed 
in a volume relating chiefly to l644, it was probably written in 
that year. 

i* See MS. Athenae Cantabrigienses in the British Museum, 
by Morris Drake Morris, Esq. 


man literature were very surprising; that he* 
became an admirable critic in the varioua 
branches of classical learning ; that his acquire- 
ments in poetry and history were considerable ; 
and that he spent the greater part of his time 
in the study of theology. 

He proceeded to the degree of Bachelor of 
Arts, in 1637. It is well known that, in the ex- 
aminations for this degree at the University of 
Cambridge, proficiency in mathematical science 
and natural philosophy has always been the 
chief object of attention ; and, as we perceive 
no traces of Mr. Sancroft's having directed his 
studies particularly in this line, we may thus 
account for his not having attained as distin- 
guished a place in the list of honours of the 
year, as his superior talents and various attain- 
ments might have led us to expect. However, 
his name appears eleventh on the list, a situa- 
tion which, if not sufficient to satisfy the most 
aspiring ambition, must at least be deemed one 
of very creditable eminence.* 

♦ On consulting the register books for the order of seniority 
of Bachelors of Arts in 1637) I And that it stands as follows : 
Under the head, Ordo Senioritatis Baccalaureonim, Dom*. 
Pooly Pembr. and nine below him in the column. Then ano- 
ther column, beginning Dom'. Bancroft Eman., and seven 
others below him. The probable inference is, that the first 
column contains the Wranglers, and the second the Senior Op^ 
timesy of whom, if this be the case, S^ncrof^ was the fiist. 


It is always interesting and pleasing, in 
sketching a biographical memoir, to catch a 
glimpse at the more private scenes of life, where 
the shades of character are most clearly marked, 
and painted in their most genuine colours. Such 
a view of Mr. Bancroft's character at this early 
period of his life, happens to be preserved in 
two letters, the one addressed to a fellow col- 
legian, Arthur Bownest, his intimate friend 
and companion; the other to his father, re- 
lating the decease of this youthful friend, and 
expressing his deep sorrow for his loss. These 
letters exhibit, in a very amiable point of view, 
the warmth of Mr. Sancroft's affections, the 
strength of his piety, and the chaste and correct 
tone of his feelings; and show that the qualities 
of his heart and understanding had already at- 
tained to a maturity of growth much beyond 
his years. 

The following is part of his letter to his friend, 
then labouring under sickness.* 

" Arthur, 

" I received thy letter : I am sure I do 
thee no wrong in calling it so, for it is in my 
eye but half a syllable. I am sorry to hear thee 

• See Tann. MSS. v. 67. 227. The letter has no date, but 
appears to have been written in l638 or 9, being bound up 
with other letters of those years. 


say, that thy distemper enforced thee to be 
short, but I hope thou wilt shake it off. It is 
in my conceit a good step to health that thou 
hast cast off thy fears ; the disease will be the 
less able to hurt thee, if it finds not a party 
within. Fancy is a bad physician, and creates 
diseases instead of curing them. Send me 
word every week how thou art for thy health ; 
I hope to hear good news of it. All that I can 
do is to pray the great physician, that he 
would be pleased to make the disease of thy 
body the physic of thy soul ; and when it hath 
done the work it came for, to remove it, and 
restore thee to thy former strength. In the 
mean time I know my loss, and am sensible 
of it." 

The letter to his father, announcing the death 
of this much-valued friend, is dated from 
Emanuel College, May 27, 1641.* 

'* Dear Father, 

" The sad news which I shall tell you, 
you know already, but give me leave to weep 
it over again into your bosom, and that will be 
some ease to mine. I have lost the companion 
of my studies, my friend by choice, my brother 
in affection : I shall sum up all if I tell you I 
have lost my dearest Arthur Bownest. One in 

• Sec Tann. MSS. 66. Il6. 


whose acquaintance I promised myself, nay, 
found so much, as I never durst hope for, till I 
found it experimentally, and now despair ever 
to find the like. Besides those abilities natural 
and acquisite, wherewith God had enriched 
him; besides that virtuous disposition, and 
those many powerful attractives in his car- 
riage, whereby he won the love and affection 
of all that knew him, one thing there was, 
which made him deservedly more dear to me 
than others, and that was his exceeding love to 
me, which I know to have been so great as few 
brothers equal, none exceed. I am distressed 
for thee, my brother Jonathan, very pleasant 
hast thou been unto me, thy love to me was 
wonderful, surpassing the love of women. Four 
days before he died I was with him; and 
when I had taken my leave of him, and was 
gone out of the chamber, he called for me again, 
and again bade me farewell in the Lord, and 
fixing a ghastly eye on me, and putting his 
bones about my neck, (for that was all which 
was left of his arms,) he prayed God to bless 
me, and told me he should never see me more 
in this world. I was at his burial, and helped 
to lay him in the bed of rest : and now there is 
nothing left for me to do, but to love his memory 
and imitate his virtues, which God give me grace 
to do. He was mortified to all worldly things 


long before he died. Yet, father, I know he 
found not more difficulty to part with any thing 
than with me his unworthy friend ; so dearly 
did he love me. I know he is now a glorious 
saint in heaven; and it is but self-love that 
makes me thus bewail his loss. Sleep on, 
blessed soul, upon the downy lap of eternity ; 
thy name shall always be to me as an ointment 
poured forth ; and, when I forget thee, let this 
be my punishment, to feel another as great a 
loss. If he might have had the making of his 
own will, I am sure I should have been heir of 
all: but his father would not suffer it. Yet 
thus far he prevailed, that no man should see a 
paper or note-book of his (whereof he had many) 
but I : and his reason was, he said, because I 
loved him, and would bear with any imperfection 
in them. His father bade me take what books I 
would. One I took and no more, as a remem- 
brance of my dead friend. His mother hath 
since sent me, as a token, a bridle and saddle 
which he had made him a little before his death. 
that good woman! she is the object of my pity ; 
her life was bound up in the lad's life, and she 
will go down sorrowing into the grave. Sir, I 
am sorry to have benighted your thoughts with 
this sad narration, yet you see I cannot get out 
of it. When I have such a subject, it is easier 
to fill sheets than to confine myself to a page. I 
had nobody to whom I might better unlade my 


heart, for it was swoln with grief; and yet 
there is one thing behind (which I will tell you 
when it shall please God to bring me again into 
your presence,) which is the sorrow of sorrows, 
the first-bom of all my griefs." 

His sorrow for the loss of this endeared 
friend seems to have long occupied his mind. 
Writing to his father nearly a year afterward?, 
(April 4, 1642,) he says, *' I have lately obtain- 
ed of my tutor the picture of my ever dearest 
friend. Sir* Bownest, now in bliss ; so like 
him that every glance renews, as his dearest 
memory, to my own deserved sorrow. His con- 
verse was so sweet and so full of affection, that, 
me thinks, an university life hath not been to 
me so desirable since I lost him as before. 
Pardon this impertinency ; I must needs break 
forth sometimes on which I spend so many 


Mr. Sancroft proceeded to the degree of M. A. 

in 1641. A short time previously, in a part of 

the letter just cited, we find him thus writing 

to his father : 

" Sir, 

** The commencement draws on apace : 
Sunday come five weeks is the day. I have 

• This is the title formerly given to bachelors of arts, the 
translation of the Latin dominus. 
t See Tan. MSS. v. 6a. 3. 


some interest in that solemnity, because I shall 
then receive the complement of my degree. If 
there be any contentment in this, 'tis reason 
you should have the flower of it, and therefore, 
according to the custom of the University, I 
doubt not but I shall see you here. I would de- 
sire you to send me word without fail by the 
carrier, whom you think fitting to bring with 
you, that you may not come unexpected, unpro- 
vided for ; and to speak to them to come : and 
when I have heard from you, I will wTite to them 
and invite them in particular, if it be needful." 

It is probable, from the course of his educa- 
tion, that he was from the first designed for 
holy orders. It is not to be ascertained at what 
precise time he entered on the ministry, nor by 
whose hands he was ordained ; but a letter ad- 
dressed by him to his father nearly fixes the 
period to the autumn of the year 1641. In 
this letter,* bearing date September lOth in 
that year, he expresses, in the following terms, 
his very serious feeling of the duties of the 
ministerial office, and of the deep responsibility 
which attached to it. 

" I have lately offered up to God the first 
fruits of that calling which I intend, having 
common-placed twice in the chapel: and if, 
through your prayers and God's blessing on 

♦Tann. MSB. w 66, 198. 



my endeavours, I may become an insitrumept . 

in any measure fitted to |)ear his name befortf "^' 

his people, it shall be my joy and the crown of.. 

my rejoicing in the Lord. I am persuaded that 

for this end I was sent into the world; and 

... ■<■ 

therefore, if God lends me life and abilities, I 

shall be willing ta spend myself and be spent 

tipon the work." 

To a person of his habits and pursuits, and 
with no other prospects of advancement in life 
than those which arose out of his own exertions, 
it must have been a very important object to 
attain a fellowship in his college; an object in 
which he appears to have succeeded towards 
the middle of the year 1642. It seems that the 
violent proceedings of the Commons paved the 
way for his more early election, by their de- 
claring some fellowships vacant. He says, in'a 
letter to his father, dated April 4, in that year,* 

" There is an order lately come from the 
House of Commons for the admission of Mr. 
Worthington fellow of our college, and this 
afternoon it is expected he will be admitted. 
There is also another order for the pronouncing 
of the three senior fellows, who are superannu- " 
ated, non socii presently, and choosing others 
into their rooms ; but, because they stand by the 
king's dispensation, and the order is only from 

♦ Tann. MSS. v. 63. 3. 



AlieCommons, I think our master will hardly 
ttnture to pronounce them." 

In a subsequent part of the same letter^ he 
consults with his father in the following terms, 
respecting some trust property, the holding of 
which might interfere with his acceptance of a 
fellowship. The concluding part of the extract 
is very observable, as evincing at this early 
period that high tone of conscientious feeling, 
which afterwards proved so conspicuous a fea- 
ture in his character, and influenced the greater 
turns of his fortune. 

" One thing I must acquaint you with! 
When I was in the country, you know there 
was an overture of assigning some lands to 
yourself and me. Now, if it should please 
Go3 to dispose of me (in) a fellowship in the 
college, (which it is yet doubtful,) you know 
our statute, that none can be fellow who hath 
£20 per annum. Now my quaere is, whether 
this assignment, (though but in trust) especially 
if the trust be not mentioned in the instrument, 
will not invest me with such an estate in lands 
as will disable me from taking this preferment 
in the college. That nobody knows of it, T 
weigh not; for I desire more a thousand times 
to approve myself to God and my own con- 
science than to all the world beside. If it be 
not done, I pray, Sir, think of it before you do 

VOL. I. c 


it; if it be done, and you find it will touch up<Hi 
the statute, let it be undone. I would not be 
too scrupulous, nor yet too bold with my con- 
science. If it be a needless scruple, I had 
rather show myself to have no law than no 
conscience: however, I permit it wholly to 
you, desiring you to inform yourself and do ac- 
cordingly. It is a thought that came across my 
mind since I received your last letter, and I 
could not but acquaint you with it." 

During his residence at the University, sub- 
sequently to his taking his degrees, he seems 
to have applied himself closely to the diligent 
cultivation of his talents, and to have taken a 
wide range through various branches of polite 
and useful literature. " I pray. Sir," he says, 
in writing to his father, in September 1641, 
'* send me the winter gown faced with fur, 
which I wore sometimes when I was at home 
last: for I purpose, if it please God to bless 
me with health, to sit close at my study this 
winter, and not to stir any whither." 

There happen to be still preserved, in the 
Lambeth MS. library,* four of his academical 
orations, made during his residence on his fel- 
lowship. One of these was delivered, pro-* 
bably in the senate-house, Nov. 5, 1642, in 

* See Lambeth MSS. 595. 143. &c. 


commemoration of the day;* afiother, bearing 
date in the year 1645, is stated to have been 
delivered on his commencing the oflSce of He- 
brew Professor; another, without a date, on 
his commencing that of Greek Professor. These 
orations are by no means destitute of merit, 
but are written for the most part in too meta* 

* It may be proper to give, as matter of curiosity, some 
sbort specimens of these juvenile performances. That on the 
5th of November begins — Quod in ipso statim orationis ves- 
tibulo Romanis numinibus, Timori et Pallori impens^ adeo ope- 
ratus sum, ut nee vox nee lingua viam expcdiant, non est quod 
vehementius miretur aliquis. Nam si antiqui oratores, divini 
homines in dicendo, cum suas aut amicorum fortunas privatas 
in discrimine positas viderent,expalluerunt in principiis diccndi ; 
quis tremor, quis horror, quae cunctatio animi mihi oboriatur 
necesse est, de illo ingenti rei omnis publicae discrimine dicturo 
hodie, quod nemo unquam paulo humanior nisi profundo stu* 
pore defixus cogitavit. 

Speaking of the Pope. Incubus aliquis daemon putidcl cum 
Aieretrice rem liabens, monstrum hoc horrcndum informe, fra- 
terculum Gigantum,Cco Enceladoque, et Typhceo germanum, 
progenuit, prolem utique quae utrumquc parentem non obscuris 
indiciis referebat. 

There is much in similar style. It ends thus: Deus O. M. 
rerum nostr*^ stator, Magnam Brit™ sospitet, et majorem 
sui Britannii Carolum, in hoc praesertim ferreo saeculo, atque 
impedito reipublicae tempore, ut deters4 sub qui luctatur impor- 
Und nubecula, pulchrior aliquando exerat illustre caput; et cut 
tamdiu uuic^ studuit optimus principum, in priscum aurum 
refundat omnia ; ut nos etiam debitd huic diei laetitii, quam 
roaDcam hodie et dimidiatam cogimur exolverc, pleno tum 
jubilo et adulto gaudio, justoque triumpho exequamur. 



phorical and inflated a style^ the bad taste of 
which should rather be laid to the charge of the 
age in which he wrote, than of himself. It 
does not appear from the records of the Uni- 
versity that he ever held the public situation 
either of Hebrew or of Greek Professor. The 
ofiices, therefore, spoken of under these titles, 
must have been lectureships within the walls of 
his own college, with reference to which situa- 
tions, the title of professor, which is now con- 
fined to public lecturers in the University, was 
formerly used. 

Among other departments of literature which 
he cultivated during this period of his life, in 
addition to his severer studies, was poetry. 
We find, among his papers now preserved 
in the Bodleian, a number of poetical pieces 
of various descriptions, transcribed with his 
own hand. In particular, there is a common- 
place book,* now imperfect, which appears 
from the index to have consisted of at least 
300 pages, written in his small and very close 
hand-writing, filled with poems in Latin and 
English, partly serious and sacred, but partly of 
a lighter character, such as appear to have struck 
him in the course of his reading, and to have 
been deemed by him worthy of transcription. 

♦ See Tann. MSS. No. 465. 


Among these are several poems of Crashaw, 
mentioned in the index as " transcribed from 
his own copie before they were printed," of Sir 
Henry Wotton, Dr. Corbet, and others then in 
vogue. Mr. T. Warton, in his edition of Mil- 
ton's poems,* mentions that, in this manuscript 
collection by Archbishop Sancroft, made when 
he was fellow of Emanuel College, are some 
poems of our celebrated John Milton ; he spe- 
cifies particularly Milton's Ode on the Nativity, 
stated by Sancroft to be " selected from the 1st 
page of John Milton's poems," and his version 
of Ps. liii., noted as " done in the fifteenth 
year of his age." Mr. Warton adds this inte- 
resting remark, that '^ perhaps this is the only 
instance on record of these poems having re- 
ceived the slightest mark of notice or attention 
during the first 70 years after they were pub- 
lished." This remark is most creditable to the 

♦ See Milton's Poems, edited by T. Warton. London. 1785. 
Pref. iv. V. It is proper to state that, on referring to this por- 
tion of Tanner's MSS. in the Bodleian (No. 465), consisting of 
papers tied together in a parcel, I do not now find among them 
aay poems of Milton transcribed. But there can be no douU 
of ihe correctness of Warton's assertion. Probably these sheet3 
•of the collection, after being in his hands, have been acciden- 
tally placed in some other parcel. The poems of Milton re- 
ferred to were first edited in l645 ; Mr. Warton says that Sanp 
croft made these transcriptions from them in l648 ; I have 
found no date to the papers. 



taste and judgment of Sancroft, as showing 
that he had from the first the discernment to 
perceive the merit of pieces, which the world 
was very tardy in acknowledging, but which 
has since been sealed with the full stamp of 
general approbation. 

At this period of his life, Mr. Sancroft, being 
a young man of superior talents and attain- 
ments, as well as most upright principles and 
conduct, appears to have recommended himself 
strongly to several friends, who took a warm 
interest in the advancement of his fortunes. 
Being bom to no inheritance, and consequently 
depending on his profession for his future main- 
tenance, he seems to have held himself open to 
the acceptance of any situation which gave a 
fair prospect of advantage in the employment 
of his talents. The two following letters, 
written by him to his father, mention offers 
that were made to him of engaging in the situa- 
tion of private tutor : it does not appear that he 
eventually accepted either of these, or any other 
similar situations : but, from the terms in which 
he writes, it is manifest that he was not averse to 
such an engagement. They exhibit in a very 
amiable point of view the deference which he 
paid to his father^s judgment, and his un^ 
willingness to act without his counsel or ap^ 


*From Mr. Sancroft to his Father. 

Cambridge, September lOtb, l641. 

** Within this fortnight, our master 
proffered me a place; he would have preferred 
me to live in an earl's house, where I should 
have had £30 per annum, my diet in the great 
chamber, and a gelding to ride abroad on, upon 
occasion. My work should have been only to 
teach two of his children grammar; for there is 
a chaplain in the house already. I durst not 
accept the place, because I knew not your 
mind, and that was my answer to our master. 
However, I am infinitely obliged to him : for I 
had the first offer of it in the college. I pray, 
Sir, when you have occasion to write to Cam- 
bridge, express yourself fully what you would 
liave me to do, if the like case be offered again ; 
for, though such things happen but seldom, 
yet, if it should come to the same point again, I 
would do nothing without your direction." 

'\Fr(nn Mr. Sancroft to his Father. 

(No date, but probably in tbe year l645). 


" I wrote to you by Rogers concern- 
ing a business of some moment. I doubt not 

* The same letter as that before quoted, in which he spoke 
of his going into holy orders. 

t Sec Tann. MSS, v. 60. 314. This letter is bound up with 
others relating to l645. 



you have received my letter, and I expect 
every hour an answer. But having heard now 
something more concerning it, I thought it my 
duty to impart it. Mr. Weller had before sug- 
gested the Doctor's loving and careful thoughts 
towards me, and given me some dark intima- 
tions of the nature of the place, which I now 
understand more fully by a letter from himself. 
Tis a rich merchant in London, a friend of his, 
that would send over his son beyond sea; and 
the Doctor has spoken to him not to dispose of 
the trust and care of him to any till I have ex- 
pressed how I mean to dispose of myself. I 
like the person better than had he been what 
Mr. Weller mistook him for, noble. For then 
he would have looked for m^re respect and 
attendance, nor should I have had so much in- 
fluence upon him for his good ; briefly, I should 
then have been a servant, and not a master or 
at least a companion ; there would have been 
much expected, and perhaps but little done, 
for generally those great ones prove unruly 
abroad. Nor do I despair of a less noble salary 
here, the London merchant's. I was this morn- 
ing with my Lord of Exeter,* (who is now at 

* This was Dr. Ralph Brownrigg, Bishop of Exeter, who, 
as will appear in the sequel, bore a particular friendship to Mr. 
Bancroft. He wa^ originally a scholar and fellow of Pembroke 
Hall, afterwards master of Catherine Hall ; made bishop of 


Christ's College,) and acquainted him with it, 
who encourageth me to go on, and hath en- 
joined me to wait upon him in the country, 
and give him an account of my proceedings in 
it. I shall have his counsel and direction in 
the whole, and, which is more, his prayers ; I 
have already a promise from him often reite- 
rated, that, if it can be in his power to do me a 
kindness, he will not forget me. He hath en- 
joined me, before I go, to give him a copy of a 
common-place of mine, which he heard of, and 
of my speech at St. Marie's on the gunpowder 
treason day, of which he was an auditor. That 
I may be enabled to obey him in both, I pray. 
Sir, send me up by this bearer (enclosed in a 
letter) the latter of the two, which you will 
find in a bundle of my own composures in the 
fir box in my study. I am now vmting to Dr. 
H. and, though I cannot give him an express 
answer, because I have not your explicit con- 
sent, vrithout which I will do nothing, yet I 
shall so write as to make stay of the place till 
I hear fully from you, which I hope to do by 

Exeter in l642 : deprived of his mastership in l645, and after- 
wards, with the other prelates, of his bishopric. During the 
usurpation, he officiated as preacher of the Temple, where he 
died in l659. His life is written by his successor. Dr. Gauden, 
prefixed to his scrmons.—See Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, 
and Kennett's MS. Collections in the British Museum, V. 1«986. 


Rogers; if not, I beseech you, let it be by Mr. 
Goodwyn, for delay may totally defeat me of 
this so happy opportunity. I hope to hear 
from London this week what the quality of the 
person is that would employ me; what he 
would willingly allow, for I must be enabled to 
live abroad something plentifully, or else stay 
at home; whither he would have his son go, 
for I will not venture into such a hot climate 
where my health is like to be endangered, 
much less where my religion will be a crime. 
When I am informed further, I will either send, 
or come to you myself, and acquaint you with 
all. In the mean time, that your leave and 
blessing may fully go along with me, I could 
fiilly propound many motives to induce you, 
which perhaps I may do in my next; but that 
it is enough to tell you that those two incom- 
parable noble friends and patrons of mine are 
my authors and encouragers in it, — ^who are, I 
bless God, so tender and loving to me, that 
they would not entertain any notion that might 
sort to my prejudice. Sir, for the present, that 
which I have to beg of you (besides your con- 
sent to this proposition) is, that you will be 
pleased to wrap up all in the greatest secrecy 
that may be ; for to discourse that I intend to 
travel would be the readiest way to hinder me 
from it." 


But, whatever may have been the tempta- 
tion held out by offers of this description, he 
remained constantly resident on his fellowship, 
'engaged in academical business, and in the 
diligent pursuit of his studies. About the 
year 1644, we trace him holding the office of 
bursar;* and, during the whole of his residence, 
he appears to have been engaged in the business 
of tuition. It will be seen in the sequel, that per- 
sons who had the benefit of his instructions, re- 
tained ever after the wannest sense of grati- 
tude for his kindness and attention, and a 
strong feeling of the peculiar advantages they 
had derived from his counsels and directions. 

But the times in which Mr. Bancroft rose into 
life were times of confiision and alarm, pregnant 
no less with calamity and mourning to the 
whole nation, than with severe trial to the feel- 
ings of individuals, and detriment to their 
worldly prospects. More especially, were they 
times of sore anguish and tribulation to those 
who, being the authorized ministers of the esta- 
blished church, were called upon by feelings of 
duty and of conscientious attachment to defend 
it against assailants ; but whose unhappy lot it 
was to behold its sacred institutions profaned, 

* See letters written by him, (Tann. MSS, v. 6l. 66. and 
V. 57. 35S.) which show that he held in l644 the office of bur- 
sar, and subsequently that of public tutor in the college. 


its fences rudely broken down, and the axe of 
desolation applied to its roots. 

Mr. Sancroft, in a letter to his father* of April 
4, 1642, had thus expressed his feelings on the 
subject of the troubles then breaking forth. 

" Things go very ill above : I know, you can- 
not but hear more than is fitting for me to 
write ; so I cannot but say, in the words of his 
Majesty in one of his messages, there is a judg- 
ment firom heaven upon this land, if these things 
continue. In this case, prayers and tears are 
the best arms we can use, and I pray God we 
may stay there and take up no other." 

In the next year, 1643, the famous Covenant 
was entered into, between the kingdoms of 
England and Scotland, in which, while the pre- 
tence was held out of a design to defend the 
king's person and authority, together with the 
rights and privileges of parliament, and the li- 
berties of the kingdom, the purpose of overturn- 
ing the frame and constitution of the church by 
the extirpation of prelacy was openly avowed. 
This Covenant, first ratified in Scotland by 
commissioners sent from the English parlia- 
ment, was, in the autumn of this year, for- 
warded to London, and immediately taken by 
the members of both houses of parliament. It 
was afterwards enforced in the city of London* 

* Tanner's MSS. v. 63, 3. 


and in different parts of the country, with 


greater or less degrees of rigour, according 
to the local influence possessed by the party 
which favoured it, and to many accidental cir- 
cumstances. In the two universities, great 
numbers were about this time ejected from their 
fellowships, and from other offices of trust, both 
for refusing to bind themselves by this obliga- 
tion and for various alleged offences. In the 
university of Cambridge, the parliamentary 
leader, the Earl of Manchester, made a visita- 
tion in the course of this year, and ejected 
sixty-five fellows from the different colleges for 
not returning to their usual place of residence on 
due summons, and for other misdemeanours.* 
The individuals alluded to had, no doubt, re- 
tired from the university for the purpose of 
avoiding the imposition of the unwelcome oath. 
Among other persons ejected at this time 
was Dr. Holdsworth, the master of Emanuel 
College, who bore particular friendship to Mr. 
Sancroft, and who, as has already appeared, 
took considerable interest in promoting his suc- 
cess in life. He happened to be vice-chancellor 
when the troubles broke out, was seized by the 
parliament for licensing the king*s books, and 
getting his declarations printed, expelled from 

• S«e Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy, p. 112. . 


fais mastership and other preferment, and 
thrown into prison.* 

The following letterf was written to him by 
Mr. Sancroft, soon after that event. It is very 
characteristical of his style of writing ; it de- 
scribes in glowing terms the state of his feelings 
at the temper and the practices of the times, 
and shows his fixed determination never to 
yield his conscientious principles, by taking the 
obnoxious oath. 

" Much honoured Sir, 


" I have formerly troubled you with 
my desires, and they met with acceptance from 
you. I hope I may now take leave to sigh out 
my griefs before you, and pour my sorrow 
into your bosom. You have not thought good, 
as yet, to give a check to my former imperti- 
nencies, and so I dare be confident, your good- 
ness will be a sanctuary for this oflFence too, 

* After four years imprisonment he was suffered to be at 
large. The king afterwards appointed him to the deanry of 
Worcester, but, from the continuance of the troubles, he was 
never installed. He died in the August following the king's 
death, of disease brought on by grief. — See Walker's Sufferings 
of the Clergy. — Part ii. p. 80. 

t See Tanner's MSS. 61. 267- The letter, though it bears 
no date, is bound up in a volume which refers to the year 


which yet, if it must be called so, is no other 
than an offence of love, or if that be too bold a 
word, of deepest regard and respect to you. 
We live in an age in which to speak freely is 
dangerous, iin6 nee gemere tuto licet ; faces are 
scanned, and looks are construed, and gestures 
are put upon the rack and made to confess 
something which may undo the actor; and, 
though the title be liberty, written in foot and 
half-foot letters upon the front, yet within there 
is nothing but perfect slavery, worse than Rust. 
sian. Woe worth a heart then oppressed with 
grief in such a conjuncture of time as this. Fears 
and complaints, you know, are the only kindly 
and gentle evaporations of burthened spirits, 
and if we must be bereaved of this sad comfort 
too, what else is left us but either to whisper our 
griefs to one another in secret, or else to sit 
down and sink under the burthen of them. I do 
not par a^tragtediare; nor is my grief so ambitious 
as to raise fluctum in scrupulo. You know, I 
dare say, what it is that must needs make me 
cry out, since it touched me in the tenderest 
part of my soul. We live in times that have, 
of late, been fatal in abating of heads : proud 
Tarquin's riddle is now fully understood ; we 
know too well what it is summa papaverum 
capita demere. But I had not thought they 
would have beheaded whole colleges at a blow ; 


nay, whole universities and whole churches too ; 
they have outdone their pattern in that, and 
'tis an experiment in the mastery of cruelty far 
beyond Caligula's wish. Ah ! Sir, I know our 
Emanuel College is now an object of pity and 
commiseration; they have left us like John 
Baptist's trunk when his head was lopped off, 
because of a vow or oath (or covenant if you 
will) that went before, or like Pompey's carcase 
upon the shore ; so stat magni nominis umbra. — 
For my part, taedet me vivere hanc mortem — a 
small matter would prevail with me to take up 
the resolution to go forth any whither where I 
might not hear nee nomen nee facta Pelopida- 
rum. Nor need we voluntarily give up our 
stations ; I fear we cannot long maintain them. 
And what then ? shall I lift up my hand ? I will 
cut it off first. Shall I subscribe my name ? I 
will forget it as soon. I can at least look up 
through this mist and see the hand of my God 
holding the scourge that lashes, and with this 
thought I am able to silence all the mutinies of 
boisterous passions, and to charm them into a 
perfect calm. Sir, you will pardon this dis- 
jointed piece, it is the production of a disquieted 
mind, and no wonder if the child resembles its 
parent ; my sorrow, as yet, breaks forth only in 
abrupt sighs and broken sobs." 


By what peculiar fortune Mr. Sancroft es- 
caped at this time the storm which lighted 
upon so many, cannot now be ascertained. We 
have seen with what indignation he expressed 
his resolution not to take the Covenant, and it 
is certain that he did not take it. The most 
probable conjecture is, that his talents and 
excellent qualities recommended him to fa- 
vourable consideration with the leading persons 
of the opposite party, and induced them to 
overlook him. 

Soon after this period, in the prosecution of 
the work of destroying the Church, the use of its 
Liturgy was prohibited,* and the Directory sub- 
stituted in its place. Here was a further diffi- 
culty thrown in the way of conscientious minis- 
ters of the church, who were required by their 
oaths to conform to the Liturgy, and who could 
not allow the validity of that authority which 
now pretended to abrogate the use of it. Mr. 
Sancroft, being a fellow resident in his college, 
and having no duty to perform beyond its walls, 

♦ The Assembly of Divines presented the Directory to the 
Commons towards the end of the year l644 ; and in the begin- 
Bing of 1645 it was adopted by them, and an ordinance passed 
for its general use. In the following August, on a petition 
from the Assembly of Divines, a fresh ordinance was made for 
enforcing it, and an order given that all Common Prayer Books 
should be brought in to the Committees.— See Kcnnctt's History 
of England. 

VOL. I. D 


was not called upon to betray his non-compli- 
ance with the parliamentary ordinance, in the 
same public manner as those of the clergy who 
officiated in the churches. But still, in a ques- 
tion of this nature and importance, it was im- 
possible that he should not make up his mind 
as to the part which it became him to take. 
Indeed, it appears that the statutes of his col- 
lege called upon him occasionally to officiate in 
the chapel ; and we can well understand, that 
the same feeling which would make him unwil- 
ling, as a minister of the church, to discontinue 
the Liturgy, would prevent his attendance at 
the service when it was discontinued. 

The following excellent letter on this subject 
was written by him to an intimate firiend, who 
evidently seems to have betrayed more supple- 
ness in yielding to the temper of the times than 
suited Mr. Bancroft's feelings. It may be col- 
lected from the terms of the letter, that Mr. 
Sancroft having requested his friend's opinion 
respecting the line of conduct to be pursued, 
that friend had suggested many prudential rea- 
sons for compliance with the injunctions of the 
prevailing authorities, and had endeavoured to 
calm the warmth of Mr. Bancroft's feelings on 
the distracted state of the times. In this answer 
Mr. Sancroft, in a very forcible and spirited 
style, combats the arguments which had been 


suggested to him, and shows his own finn reso- 
lution to maintain his conscientious principles. 
He rallies his friend on his tendency to change, 
in a manner which exhibits, in a favourable point 
of view, his talent for dry, but good-humoured 

William Sancrofl to Mr. Richard WeUer.* 

Dated Emanuel College, May 26, 1645. 

'* To begin with your first caution ; 
assure yourself, sweet Sir, the epidemical dis- 
tempers of the age do not (too much) possess 
my mind, nor do I lay them to heart, so as to : 
endanger my constitution, weak though it be. 
But yet I must acknowledge I do not, I cannot, 
look upon this bleeding kingdom, this dying 
church, with the same indifference as I would 
read the history of Japan, or hear the affairs of 
China related. I cannot consider a scattered 
and broken university with as reposed a spirit, 
as I would behold a tragedy presented on a 
stage, or view some sad picture in a gallery. I 
thank my God, who hath given me so tranquil 
and calm a spirit, as I do neither fret impa- 
tiently, nor cowardly despair. But yet I know 
full well that 'twere a grand mistake to practise 
a dull inapprehensiveness, instead of a generous 
patience. A stoical stupidity is fas enough re*- 

* Tarni. MSS. 60. 148 


moved from an heroic constancy ; and that sour 


sect, who sought to bereave us of the one half 
of ourselves, and to free us, shall I say, or rob 
us, of our passions and affections, are so far 
from making a wise man or a Christian, that 
they have only raised a statue. To say no 
more. Sir, your spur was here more needful 
than your bridle ; and, perhaps, a friendly jog 
to awaken me to a greater degree of solicitude 
had been more seasonable, than your dose of 
opium to charm my sorrows and lullaby my 
cares, which I fear will rather be found on this 
side the due proportion than beyond it. I .am 
all thankfulness for your loving care and pains 
in answering my query ; and do but still vouch- 
safe to continue this your affectionate readiness, 
and your counsel shall always be my better 
directory. You are pleased to slice my doubt 
into a double scruple. Whether I may lay aside 
the one, whether I may take up the other? 
For the first, your maxim is, that no law 
obligeth to a positive obedience where the le- 
gislative power doth not protect. I think you 
and I shall hardly be t'^o in this particular. 
Nor do I count myself obliged to go to chapel 
and read common prayer till my brains be 
dashed out. But yet, if laws are binding no 
longer than till inconveniencies accrue to the 
observer, I am at this present time free from the 


tie of all the laws of England, and may do 
whatever is good in mine own eyes : because 
they, in whom the legislative power is seated, 
being split into two opposite factions, there is 
no security left ; for whom one side protects 
the other threatens. And if the endangering of 
estate or liberty to be taken away by violence 
of a prevailing party be sufficient to absolve us 
from our obedience, what are your thoughts of 
those, whose memories are now so precious, 
who stood up resolutely against ship-money 
and illegal taxes, and for not paying perhaps 
£20 endangered their whole inheritance. Or, 
to look into that other sphere of the church, of 
those who, in the days of innovation and illegal 
encroachments, kept close to canon and rubric, 
maugre all the suspensions and deprivations in 
the diocese. 

" But for the second, your conclusion is, that 
I may cheerfully, nay that I am tied, to conform 
to the new model. And why I pray ? 1. Be- 
cause I am bound to do my ultimum quod sit 
for the glory of God. 2. Because I am bound, 
by my place, to read the Scriptures and pray. 
First for your conclusion, then for your argu- 
ments. And truly that cheerfulness in comply- 
ing which you seem to require of me is much 
abated by these considerations, which, to my 
weakness, appear to carry some weight in them,; 



1. Because to comply would be a tacit consent 
to that extravagant power which the two Houses 
now first challenge (having before disclaimed 
it,) of repealing acts of parliament by ordi- 
nance, which opens a wide gap to all manner 
of arbitrariness : for, if they may in some cases 
annul laws, and they themselves be the judges 
of those cases, we are not sure that one law 
shall stand. And yet that protestation which 
both you and I took, binds us, with our power 
and estate, nay, with our lives, to maintain and 
defend the lawful rights and liberties of the 
subject ; the chiefest part of whose birthright it 
is, as I apprehend it, to be free firom illegal 
impositions. But 2dly, to comply, would be 
to throw a foul aspersion on the whole church 
of God in England, since the Reformation ; as 
if the public worship of God here used, which, 
for aught I know, was the most complete piece 
which any church upon earth had, were unlaw- 
ful and anti-christian, or, at least, in the highest 
degree inconvenient. For such language the 
Preface to your Directory speaks, and there- 
upon infers an absolute necessity of removing it. 
Now thus to cast up dirt in my mother's face, 
and kick out her Liturgy as an abominable 
thing, which hath so long been made good 
against all the noise and clamour of weak op- 
posites, is an exploit, I confess, which I cannot 


look upon with any such complacence, as to 
undertake it with an extraordinary measure of 
cheerfulness or alacrity. And, 3dly, to comply 
would be to set to my seal that the Houses have 
power to reform religion without the supreme 
magistrate; that their journeymen of the synod 
are lawfidly convened : the truth of which, I 
confess, I cannot so clearly see, no not with the 
help of a synodical pair of spectacles. And, 
while my apprehensions are thus planted, be 
you judge how much it would be for the glory 
of Grod, for me thus to run counter to the dic- 
tates of my conscience, which is God's voice in 
my soul, and to me as binding. I am bound, 
^tis true, by the statute, shall I say, or rather 
the custom of the college, to read prayers in 
my course ; but I am bound by a higher law of 
the kingdom, and under greater penalties, to 
use no form of public worship but that esta- 
blished. If I be wanting to my duty in this, I 
am confident they will answer it who lay the 
restraint upon me. You mightily applaud that 
piece of freedom, that I must make my prayer 
myself, but yet, you know, they bind me in their 
niaterials : and shall I pray for your synod and 
araiies, or give thanks for your Covenant? 
Truly, Sir, I am not yet satisfied, and therefoi*e 
long impatiently to see you, for I hope your 



charitable d^re of informing me still con* 
tinues. What remains, I will reserve till then, 
because I cannot but reflect upon my rudeness 
already committed in this talkative paper. 

" At the close you interpose a word or two 
concerning your mutability. Good Sir, do not 
phrase it so. When I wrote that passage which 
you aim at, I intended only to convict fame of a 
lie ; to let you know there is more brass in her 
forehead than in her trumpet ; and to applaud 
the poetical fiction in the choice of her sex, be- 
cause I find her such a babbler and busy-body. 
I know that Mr. Weller's principles are so well 
and so deeply grounded, so strongly fortified, 
that all the logic at Westminster cannot alter 
them ; and that it should be done before, I see 
no likelihood. Caelum non animum mutant. 
Sir, I look upon an opinion once entertained by 
you, as Hull or Gloucester, or if there be a 
more impregnable castle. I know you can 
stand out against all opposition ; you know well 
how to ward the blows both of the right hand 
and the left. You slight the proffers of advan- 
tage that would woo you to give up, as much 
as you scorn the danger, and sit above all ap- 
prehensions of it. I know you'll dispute every 
inch before you quit it ; being underneath 
rtr^otyuyog, like a die, however you be thrown 



down, you cannot lose your squareness, for you 
still fall upon a sure basis. So that, should any 
one tell me he saw you take the Covenant, I 
should be bold, if civility gave me leave, to give 
him the lie. Nay, should I myself see you lift 
up your hand and subscribe your name, I would 
strait turn sceptic and conclude my eyes de- 
ceived me. However, in despite of all mutabi- 
lities, I shall ever be, most unchangeably, 
" Your faithful friend and servant, 

** W. S." 

Mr. Bancroft appears to have continued, 
principally if not entirely, resident on his fel- 
lowship, employed in the business of tuition, 
till the purposes of rebellion were consummated, 
in the total overthrow of the kingly government, 
and the murder of the king. The two letters 
which follow, addressed to his father from 
Cambridge, were written, the one in the near 
prospect of that event, the other immediately 
after it had taken place. It is pleasing to ob- 
serve him ever calming and subduing his acute 
feelings of sorrow for the prevalence of public 
crime and distraction, by recollecting the 
supreme duty of bowing with humility and 
resignation to the dispensations of a righteous 


From William Sancroft to his Father.* 

January 11, 1648. 

" Things grow worse and worse every 
day ; and there is nothing left for the king and 
his party, in this world, but the glory of suffer- 
ing well and in a good cause, which I hope nor 
devils nor men will be able to deprive them of. 
For my part, if once I see the fatal blow struck, 
I shall think of nothing but trussing up all and 
packing away, and nothing but your command 
shall stay me long in a nation which, I am per- 
suaded, will sink to the centre, if it suffers so 
horrid a wickedness without chastisement. In 
the mean time, we must observe and adore the 
mysteries and wonders of Providence in all 
these traverses. You see the army could never 
ruin the king till they nulled the Lords and en- 
slaved the Commons,* and so ruined the parlia- 
ment that lent the first hand to the setting of 
them up and pulling down the king. And what 
shall we say if William Prynne,t who was the 

* Tann. MSS. 57. 473. 

t The celebrated William Piynne was at this time one of 
the members excluded from the House dF Commons. He pub- 
lished Jan. 1, 1648, ''A brief Memento to the present unpar- 
liamentary Junto, touching their intentions and proceedings to 
depose and execute Charles Stewart, their lawful king of Eng- 
land.** He was in consequence committed to custody by the 
Commons for denying their authority. — See Neale*s Hbt. of 
Puritans, v. iii. 532, and Whitelocks Memoriab, p. 362. 


first incendiary, and sowed the first seeds of 
sedition, suffer at last in the king's quarrel. 
You will see by the papers I send you he is en- 
gaged : and you neither know him and his per- 
tinacy if you think he will retreat, nor his ad- 
versaries and their fury if you think they will 

From William Sancroft to his Father.* 

Fcbraary 10, 1648. 

*' What ftll men sadly presaged, when 
I wrote my last, all good men now inconsolably 
lament. The black act is done, which all the 
world wonders at, and which an age cannot 
expiate. The waters of the ocean we swim in 
cannot wash out the spots of that blood, than 
which never any was shed with greater guilt 
since the son of God poured out his. And now 
we have nothing left but to importune the Grod 
to whom vengeance belongs, that he would 
show forth himself, and speedily account with 
these prodigious moofiters, or else hasten his 
coming to judgment, and so put an end to these 
enonnous crimes, which no words yet in use 
can reach, or thought conceive without horror 
and amazement. I send you no papers, nor 
can I delight to look in any, since I read the 

* Taim. MSS. 57. 499. 


saddest that ever England saw ; those I mean 
that related the martyrdom of the best Protes- 
tant in these kingdoms, and incomparably the 
best king upon earth, Charles the pious and the 
glorious, with whom fell the church aad the 
kingdom, religion and learning, and the rewards 
of both, and all the piety and honesty of the 
nation could hope for, in this world. And, now, 
the breath of our nostrils being taken away, we 
only draw in so much as we render again in 
sighs, and wish apace for the time when God 
shall call for it all. When we meet, 'tis but to 
consult to what foreign plantation ,we shall fly, 
where we may enjoy any liberty of our con- 
science, or lay down a weary head with the 
least repose, for the church here will never 
rise again though the kingdom should. The 
universities we give up for lost ; and the story 
you have in the country of Cromwell's coming 
amongst us will not be long a fable ; and now 
'tis grown treason (which in St. Paul's time was 
duty,) to pray for kings and all that are in au- 
thority ; the doors of the church we frequented 
will be shut up, and conscientious men will re- 
fuse to preach, where they cannot, without 
danger of a pistol, do what is more necessary, 
pray according to their duty. For my part, I 
have given over all thoughts of that exercise in 
public, till I may, with safety, pour out my 


VOWS for Charles II., the heir, I hope, of his 
father s virtues, as well as kingdoms. In the 
mean time there are caves and dens of the 
earth, and upper rooms and secret chambers, 
for a church in persecution to flee to, and there 
shall be our refuge. I long exceedingly. Sir, to 
wait upon you that I may safely communicate 
my thoughts to you, nor shall I adventure any 
more of this nature till I see you. In the mean 
time, with my humble duty to yourself and my 
good mother, with my hearty love to all my 
brothers, sisters and friends, beseeching God 
to comfort you in all your public and private 
sorrows, I humbly take leave, and subscribe 

- Sir, 

** Your obedient son, 

** W. S." 

Such were the expressions of passionate sor- 
row in which he poured forth his feelings on 
this moumfiil occasion. He appears to have 
seriously intended no longer to remain a wit- 
ness of this disastrous state of things, and im- 
mediately to quit the country; but he was soon 
roused by a domestic sorrow from the exclu- 
sive consideration of the public calamities. 
His father, towards whom he was animated 
by the warmest affection, and to whose 


counsels he constantly turned for the guidance 
of his conduct, died a very few days after the 
date of the last letter. He thus announces the 
evesnt, and expresses his feelings respecting it, 
to Mr. Holdsworth, one of the fellows of the 
same college with himself.^ 

February 20th, l648. 

" Dear Mr. Holdsworth, 

*' What I feared is come to pass. It 
hath pleased God to take away from us my 
dear father, the sole prop of this now ruined 
family. His tender sense and apprehension of 
the public calamities, together with the bur- 
then of 68 years, and a violent fever, with 
which it pleased God to visit him, have ended 
the life in which all ours were bound up. On 
Sunday night, about ten of the clock, he 
went hence; yesternight, at eight, I made hard 
shift to get hither, where I found a sad &mily, 
and mingled up my tears with theirs. Good 
friend, let me have thy prayers to assist me in 
this saddest loss that ever I. sustained for this 
world. When I see thee, I shall give thee the 
particular aggravations of my sorrow. I shall 
haste out of this sad place, as soon as the duty 
I owe to the comfort of the widow and orphans, 
and some care I must share in gathering up the 

* See Turn. MSS. v. 57. 506. 


broken pieces of this shattered family^ shall be 
over; haply, both may yet exact afoitnight. 
Ib the mean time, I prithee, redouble thy ci^^ 
far my pupils, especially for the sick. — I pray 
be vigilant at Mr. Ireland's to watch when the 
king's devotions* come down; he hath pro- 
mised me six ; I pray pay for them and pre- 
serve them for me." 

* By " the King's Devotions,*' he alludes to the book pub- 
lished very shortly after the martyrdom of the king, under the 
title of Eium BttaiXtxn, purporting to contain his devotions during 
the last periods of his sufferings, committed to paper with his 
own hMid. Doubts exist respecting the authenticity of the work ; 
Vat it was bought up at the time with incredible avidity, horn 
the enthusiastic and devoted attachment to his memory which 
prevailed, quickened by the recent sense of the indignities 
he had suffered, and by compassion for his fate, so dispropor- 
tioned to the worst crimes that his enemies had charged upon 
him. It is said that no less than 50 editions of it were sdd off 
(in different languages) within 12 months after the king's 
death. — Writing to another friend, Mr. Sancroft thus expresses 
his great eagerness to procure without delay a copy of the work : 
'* If any of the king's books (Zuutt BaoiAixh, I mean) be to be 
procured, or already in your hands, send me one by this mes- 
senger.*' — (Tann. MSS. Ivii. 512.) In answer to his enquiry 
lir. Holdsworth says, *' The king's books ore so excessive dear, 
that I believe you would not have so many of them at their 
prices; they will be above 5s. -, they are sold for 6s, 6d. in Lon- 
don.*'— (Tann. MSS. Ivii. 513.) 

The Eixtfp BaciXiKfi, it is commonly supposed, was written by 
Dr. Cranden. It was answered in 1652^ by the celebrated John 
Milton, in a work called EMMoxAAo-mc. 


The fauiry. and fatigue of body and mind 
which this event occasioned, injured his health; 
which appears never to have been rolnBt. — 
Writing to a frrend he says — " Either with my 
journey hither, or with following my father's 
hearse, and sitting long in the church, I have 
gotten such a cold and cough as is for the pre- 
sent very troublesome, and may without God's 
mercy prove dangerous. He fits us for all the 
events and issues of his Providence." 

He probably returned to Cambridge, at as 
early a period as circumstances admitted, after 
paying the last duties to his father. But he was 
not long destined to remain in the possession of 
his situation there. A still more odious oath 
than the Covenant, was soon framed by the pre- 
vailing party; to escape the imposition of this, 
he appears to have retired for some time from 
the University, and, at last, from his firm de- 
termination not to take it, suffered ejectment 
from his fellowship. The oath alluded to, was 
known by the name of the Engagement, by 
which all persons were required to bind them- 
selves to be true and faithful to the govern- 
ment then established, without king or house 
of peers : and those who refused were declared 
incapable of holding any office in church or 
state. This oath was pressed with as much 
diligence and activity as circumstances ; 


mitted; but, from the want of power rather 
than of zeal in those who promoted it, it was^ 
not immediately enforced in all parts of the 

In the November of this year, the following 
letter* from Oxbridge was addressed to him, 
then absent from the University, by Henry 
Paman,t one of his former pupils, who seems 

* See Baker's MSS. at Cambridge, t. xxxiv. 123. 

t Henry P&man was a person between whom and Arch- 
bishop Sancroft a close intimacy subsisted during life. He was 
admitted at Emanuel College^ Cambridge^ in June 1 643, under the 
tutorship of Mr. Sancroft. In 1646, he removed to St. John's 
College, thence took his degrees, and was elected a fellow. In 
1658, he was created doctor of physic. Between this period 
and 1666, he appears to have resided chiefly in different parta 
of the continent. In October, 1659, we find him at Utrecht. 
(Harl. MSS. 3784, 192.) On May 9th, 1666, he thus writes 
to Mr. Sancroft from St. John's College : " After a sufficient 
time of wandering, I am once again set down quietly at my 
cell, where, after my thanks to heaven, nothing could sooner 
possess me, than the sense of my obligations to you.*' — (HarU 
MSS. 3784. 197.) In 1674, he was elected public orator at 
Cambridge. On the promotion of his former tutor to the see 
of Canterbury, he came to reside with him at Lambeth Palace, 
as his friend and companion. In 1679 he was chosen Professor 
of Physic at Grcsham College. In 1684, he took the degree 
of Doctor of Laws, and was appointed Master of the Faculties 
by the Archbishop. On the Archbishop's quitting Lambeth, he 
resigned the Mastership of the Faculties, and resided in London. 
He died in 1695, about two years after the Archbishop. He 
is described to have been a man of fine parts and a great master 

VOL. I. E 


to despair of exhibiting in his own conduct the 
•ame firmness which he anticipated in that of 
his tutor. The former occasion, to which he 
alludes, on which he had acted contrary to the 
dictates of his conscience, was probably that 
of taking the Covenant. 

St. Johns, Nov. 23d, 1 649* 

•' Honoured Tutor, 

'' I am ashamed that all the while I 
was under your tuition, I learned not that 
which I find would have been chiefly useful to 
me, thankfulness for all your favours. I know 
not how to report the condition of things here; 
only I think they are as you left them. The 
subscription is every day expected. I dare not 
say what I will do, nor ask the counsel of my 
best friends, what I ought to do. For I confess 
I have slighted my own and their counsel. I 
had a counsellor within, that showed me the 
error of the way I was going. I thought I 
might have trusted my resolution and constancy 

<if polite literttnre. His letters, some of which are here pro- 
duced, show him to have po sse ssed modi of the same talent 
which the Archhisbop possessed, of obsenriiig upon passing 
erents, and the characters of men, with peculiar point and 
shrewdness. See Ward's Lives of the Gresham Professors. 
There is a series of his letters to Saacroft preserved hi the 
Uarkian M$$. at thefirilidi Muscvm. See ¥. 37S4. 179—197. 


SO far that nothing from without should have 
moved it. People here, I think, are not wil- 
ling to acquaint themselves what they mean to 
do, before that minute when they shall have no 
more time to consider. There goes a report 
here, that the subscription was offered to Dr. 
Horton, who promised readily that he would 
be true and faithful to them ; which he could 
not be any more than by telling them of their 
bloodshed and perjury, which he resolved to do 
to hid utmost, the next time he had occasion to 
speak to any of them from the pulpit. I think 
this story is not like to be true. 

'* I am, Sir, your very real servant, 

" Henry Paman." 

The Engagement not having been enforced 
during the year 1649 with sufficient strictness 
to satisfy the party which enacted it, a fresh 
ordinance for pressing it was made January 2, 
16^; and, with regard to the Universities, it 
was, in the following June, referred to a Com- 
mittee for regulating them, to examine what 
masters and fellows, in each of them, neglected 
or refused to take the oath; at the same time, 
power was given to remove all refusers and to 
place others in their room. 

Two letters to Mr. Sancrofl, written in March 
of this year from his friends at Cambridge, 

E 2 


attest the warm interest they took in his affairs, 
and their anxiety on his account. 

From John Davenport* to Wm. Sancrofl. 

Emanuel^ March 6th, 1650. 

'* Sir, 

" The reason why I have not writ 
before this, was partly because you have been 
duly expected, partly lest instead of doing a 
friendly office, I might do you a discourtesie by 
timely informing you of a summons which de- 
mands the appearance of all non-engagers ; for 
then I thought you would not so well pretend 
ignorance, which perhaps might do you some 
good. The carrier tells me that you are not 
well ; I heartily wish your recovery, and in the 
mean time have acquainted Dr. Tuckneyt 
and the fellows with the same, who have in- 

* There were two persons of this name, members of Ema- 
nuel College, and intimate friends of Mr. Sancroft, John and 
George Davenport. A great nmnber of private letters from 
each, addressed to Mr. Sancroft^ are preserved in the Harleian 
Collection in the British Museum, chiefly relating to conmion- 
pUce matters.— (See Harleian MSS. 3783. 1 1 1. 171.) From a 
subsequent letter of Mr. Sancroft (p. 56.) it appears that he 
complains of one of the Mr. Davenports as having deceived them 
and consented to take the Engagement, after first stoutly 
denying. Jolm Davenport was elected a Fellow of Emanuel 
College in 1649. 
' f Dr. Tuckney was the Master of Emanuel College appointed 


serted it in a letter written to Mr. Adoniram 
Bifeld in your behalf, where they give you 
most ample recommendations, and express how 
greatly they desire, if possible, that you may 
be continued. One Mr. Bramford, late of our 
college, is to succeed in case you be turned 
out. Speramus meliora. They say Mr* Bifeld 
bestirs himself very much in your behalf. No- 
thing as yet is concluded. What this day, 
which is Thursday, may bring forth, you shall 
know, God willing, by the next, if we see you 
not, which I much desire, before that time. It 
is your course to preach at St. Mary's the next 
Sunday after this ; but, as the case stands, you 
need not trouble yourself nor any of your 
friends in that business ; for you will not be ex- 
pected. I have been almost dead of a cold 
since your departure, but now, thanks be to 
God, well recovered, and therefore the better 

by the parliamentary Commissioners, when they ejected Dr. 
Hddsworth, in 1645. In 1653, he was transferred to the 
Mastership of St. John's, and was afterwards made Regius Pro- 
fessor of Divinity. After the Restoration, he was ohliged to 
quit his preferments, but an annuity of ;£100 per ann. was 
assigned to him from the professorship. He was a commissioner 
at the Savoy conference on the non-conformist side. He died 
in 1669. — See an account of him by Dr. Salter in the preface 
to Whicbcote*s Aphorisms. 

E 3 



able to serve you in whatever you shall de- 

'' Your real, constant, and faithful 
" friend and servant, 

" John Davenport/* 

From H. Paman to William Sancroft* 

Dated St. Johns, March 23d, 1650. 

" The news from London says your 
business is heated, and you are given to us now 
upon a surer foundation than we could possibly 
hope to enjoy you ; for, when your fellowship 
was asked, the petitioners were answered, that 
they might as well think to remove a mountain 
as Mr. Sancroft. I am sorry for nothing in 
this turn of the scale, but that this news will 
not be so welcome to you as to us here. But 
pray. Sir, be not unwilling to come among us 
again, though we be not worthy of you. It is 
given out by many, that you have subscribed, 
that it might the more powerfully prevent all 
malicious requests to take you from us. — I hope 
to hear nothing by the carrier but that you will 
be here before his return : there was much sor- 
row for your sickness at Bansfield." 

In the course of this year, he returned to his 

* 'I' 

lann. MSS. 57. 233. 


resideoce in his college^ to await the event of 
things, and was still preserved in his fellowship, 
contrary to his own expectations, and in a man* 
Der which excited his surprise. Towards the 
close of the year, we find him writing to his 
brother, and giving the following account of the 
aspect of his affairs. . 

From Wm. Sancroft to his Brother.'* 

November 17tb^ 1650. 

•* Tis too long that I have intermitted 
this commerce of love and affection, and more 
than time that I resume it. The last time I 
wrote not, for I thought you must needs be 
weary of reading so often, what I was tired 
vdth writing, that I was not yet ejected, but 
looked not to stay long. Yet now I must re- 
turn to the old repetition, and say the same thing 
once more. I was, as I told you, once returned 
as a refuser by the Committee here ; yet some 
that have sought for my name at the Committee 
above, cannot find it; others that have en- 
quired write word that I am not turned out 
yet, though many have been, since you re- 
ceived my last. Dr. Love is suspended, but 
not yet out: and some say there is a wa^ 
found out, that he shall be thought to have 

* Sec Tann. MSS. 56. 215. 
E 4 


given satisfaction, and so that he will be conti- 
nued. But, unless he subscribe downright, I 
hardly think he can escape, for many gape for 
his places. 

*' On Thursday last, the Committee above ap- 
pointed three new masters for the void places : 
Mr. Lightfoot* for Catherine Hall, Mr. Simson 
(the great independent) for Pembroke Hall, 
and Mr. Worthington of our college for Jesus 
College. Mr. Cudworthf too is leaving us, hav- 
ing lately been presented, and now possessed, 
of a college living. North Cadbury, in Somer- 
setshire, voided by Dr. Whichcote's resignation, 
who is vice-chancellor this year. Mr. Daven- 
port of our college hath again deceived us, and 
having stoutly denied to engage before the 
Committee at London, when he was sum- 
moned, he hath since bethought him and done 
it here, and is now by a vote at London re- 
stored to his fellowship, out of which he was 
voted upon his former refusal. Mr. Adams, I 

* This was the celebrated Dr. John Lightfoot^ the learned 
Commentator on Scriptw^, who yielded to the prevailing 
temper of the times, and took the oaths required by the repub- 
lican party. At the Restoration he offered to resign his prefer- 
ments^ but obtained a confirmation of them from the crown^ 
probably from respect to his great learning. 

t The celebrated Ralph Cudworth, author of the Intellectual 


-think, stands firm : and yet we despair not of 
keeping our places, till somebody goes to com- 
plain of us, and beg them ; which will certainly 
be done, when the new swarm of bachelors that 
are to commence at Christmas shall be com- 
plete and ready for preferment. Our friends at 
Trinity are out, and others in their places. 
The Committee sat last week here, and sum- 
moned some of St. John's College to appear 
at London; but I heard nothing of them. 
Some would persuade me, and I am sometimes 
prone to believe it, that I have some secret 
friend who doth me good offices though I know 
it not. However, brother, 'tis a comfort to me, 
that I am sure of a friend in you ; and, if the 
worst happen here, which I still expect, I may 
have a retreat with you, which still you so lov- 
ingly proffer. I thank you for your readiness to 
entertain my pupil with myself; but I shall not 
make use of your kindness, in that particular, 
if I may avoid it, for if I go hence, I desire 
privacy above all. Only I desired to know 
your mind, in case I should be importuned so, 
as I could not civilly deny." 

The new creation of bachelors, alluded in 
this letter, took place, and still he was not dis- 
turbed. In the following April, he again wrote* 

* Sec Tann. MSS. 54. 38. 


to his brother in the full expectation that a very 
few days must finally terminate his possession 
of his academical situation. 

April 22d, 1651* 

** I received this day se ennight an 
order of which I send you a copy, by which 
you will perceive that Thursday-come-fortnight 
is like to put an end to my hopes ; yet haply 
not to my fears, since some of my friends 
would persuade me that I may outlive that 
date: I thank God I am not much solicitous 
in that behalf, having long since set up my 
rest : and so much the less, having this day re- 
ceived an overture of a subsistence full up to 
that of my fellowship, in which the employ- 
ment required shall leave me too as much at 
liberty as I am at present." 

Still his friends were not without hopes that 
he might escape the danger. Dr. Brownrigg, the 
Injected bishop of Exeter, who interested himself 
much in his favour, and who appears to have 
possessed credit and influence even with the 
party that now prevailed, says, in a letterf to 
him, written in the following month — " I am 
desirous to hear how you are dealt withal, for 

* Sec Tann. MSS. 54. 38. t Taim. MSS. 54. 69. 


your continuance in Cambridge. I think your 
critical month is out> so that my hope is, you 
are forborne or forgotten by them that did 
pursue you." 

In the same month, Mr. Sancroft wrote in 
the following terms to Bishop Brownrigg. It 
is a singular proof of the respect and esteem 
which attached to his character, to find, at a 
time of such political heats, those who owed 
their situations to the opposite party interest- 
ing themselves in the behalf of one who, they 
well knew, strongly condemned their principles 
and conduct. 

May 24th, 1651. 

" The dies decretorius passed accord- 
ing to my desire in silence; for had I been 
mentioned, I think nothing could have excused 
me from a sentence so peremptorily threatened. 
Your Lordship's letter (for which with the rest 
of your favours I return my humblest thanks) 
was carefully delivered, and produced this effect 
in Mr. Oldsworth, that he professed his very 
high esteem of your lordship, and how much 
he thought himself obliged to do his utmost in 
pursuance of your lordship's commands. Here- 
upon he was going to the Committee upon the 
day appointed with a resolution to move in my 
behalf; but was by the way desired by Dr. 


Tuckney (who knew of your lordship's recom- 
mendation of my case to him) not to stir in it, 
unless I were first mentioned by some other, 
for it was my interest to be forgotten. He 
complied with this suggestion; and so, through 
God's mercy, I am still continued in my oppor- 
tunities here, till either some young petitioner 
from hence, or their own reminiscence, shall 
revive my name at the Committee; and then 
actum est, ilicet. In the mean time, my sta- 
tion here can be on no account more valuable 
. to me, than if it may render me capable of re- 
ceiving your lordship's commands at a nigher 
distance, and of doing you some little of that 
service, of which I owe so much. Mr. Gayer, 
(God be praised) is well, and doth so. For 
university news, you will find more than my 
. paper could tell you in the pamphlet I send ; 
.in which you will read Peter's chair shaken 
with the same arguments that levelled the 
throne (as if soldiers go a birding with their 
muskets, and shoot at butts with their field- 

But his good fortune in escaping the inquisi- 
tion of his opponents did not continue much 
longer. Although it appears, firom a letter of en- 
quiry addressed to him by a friend on the 27th 
June, 1651, that at this period he was not ejected. 


but only in immediate peril of it — the following 
extract, dated August 13th,* proves that his 
expulsion had then taken place. — " Our perse- 
cutors are not only ignorant, but malicious, as 
I perceive by your history, which I no sooner 
read, but I was forced to sigh out a long and' 
sad farewell to Cambridge, the remembrance 
of which only your presence sweetened to me : 
how unhappy am I who shall be further sepa- 
rated from you and have no probable hopes of 
this sweet and friendly intercourse which I 
account my greatest happiness." 

Thus it may be conjectured that he was 
expelled from his fellowship in some part of the 
month of July in this year.f 

* Sec Tann. MSS. 54. 148. 

f The number of masters and feUows^ at Cambridge^ ejected 
dnring the time of the troubles is above 200; of these Walker 
says, that the larger part were turned out at the end of 1643 
and the beginning of 1644, that is, principally for not taking 
the Covenant. It is observable that, as the Presbyterians had dis- 
possessed the Royalists by means of the Covenant, so the Inde- 
pendents now dispossessed the Presbyterians by enforcing the 
Engagement, — so that several of those who were put in by the 
Earl of Manchester in 1643, were dispossessed in 1650. See 
Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy. Respecting the comparative 
merits of the Puritans and Independents, see a very remarkable 
original letter by the celebrated Dr. Sanderson, taken from a 
maniiscript collection of original letters in the Lambeth library. 
Hade with Archbishop Sancroft's own hand. — Appendix, No. 


It is highly interesting to observe the firm 
and resolute line of conduct which Mr. San- 
croft maintained during this season of trial to 
all loyal subjects and all faithful sons of the 
church. It happened then, as it happens in all 
revolutionary times, that various hypotheses were 
started,* to make men's consciences easy under 
compliance, to induce them to truckle with- 
out scruple to the authorities which prevailed, 
and to measure their notions of what was just 
and right, by their feeling of what was most 
conducive to their present interests. The spe- 
cious arguments which were invented on this 
side of the question, wrought upon many highly 
estimable persons, both amongst the clergy and 
the laity, who probably sincerely reconciled to 
their consciences compliance with all the oaths 
and engagements imposed by the government 

* Among other books published about this time to induce 
men to comply with an unjust prevailing power^ was one by 
Anthony Ascham, entitled " A Discourse wherein is examined 
what is particularly lawful during the Confusions and Revolu- 
tions of Government." 1 648. An original letter of Dr. San- 
derson's, taken from the same MS. collection of Archbishop 
Sancroft, is given in the Appendix (No. V. 2), m which, in re- 
marking on this book, he lays down the true measure of that 
submission which should be made to an unjust usurpation, and 
shows, in very pointed terms, the evil of adopting the principle 
of general unlimited compliance with prevailing power, however 
unjustly established. 


of the day. But Mr. Sancroft's conscience was 
formed of a firmer texture, and from less yield- 
ing materials. Bred up in loyal attachment to 
his sovereign, and ordained a minister of God's 
church on earth, he had sealed his ties to the 
service of both, in the sight of heaven, by the 
most solemn of all engagements ; and, having 
done so, he could not be. induced by any earthly 
consideration to bind himself in allegiance to 
those by whom the monarchy had been torn up 
from its foundations, and the holy church laid 
prostrate in the dust. 

His firm and inflexible behaviour at this 
earlier period of his life finely illustrates the 
motives from which he afterwards acted at the 
time of the Revolution. It shows that the 
scrupulous regard to the obligation of an oath 
which he then maintained with excessive rigour, 
sprang firom no feeling hastily or suddenly con* 
tracted, but from a principle which was deeply 
rooted in his heart, which formed an original 
and integral part of his character, and by which, 
under all the varying circumstances of his life, 
he steadily directed his course. 






His Publication of the Fur Prctdestinatus and Modern Policies — . 
Letters to and from his Friends — Residence in Holland — 
Travels to the South of Europe — Return to England at the 

In the gloomy state of things which now pre- 
vailed, when principles were publicly main- 
tained which tended to the destruction of social 
order, and to the confusion of all moral dis- 
tinctions ; when persons professing these prin- 
ciples had, by a course of nefarious policy, 
possessed themselves of the highest authority 
in the state, to the exclusion of the honest and 
upright part of the nation ; when impiety and 
fanaticism had made a most unhallowed alli- 
ance ; when the semblance of superior sanctity 
was assumed to veil the purposes of enormous 
wickedness, and religious motives pretended to 
justify the most atrocious crime ; it was indeed 
necessary that the wise and the good should 
strenuously exert the best means they could 
command, of stemming the headstrong tide of 
error and delusion, and of restoring the nation 
to its proper tone of thinking and of acting. To 


men like Mr. Sancroft it was, to men of sound 
principles and cultivated talents, who were not 
to be duped by the shallow arts of a crooked po- 
licy, nor seduced from the straight path of duty 
and of right by wild and ill-digested schemes of 
innovation, nor induced by any views of present 
worldly interest, meanly to support an usurpa- 
tion raised on the overthrow of just and lawful 
authority ; to such men it was, that the nation 
naturally turned for assistance in tearing off the 
mask from successful hypocrisy, and checking 
the growth of error and of crime, so as to fulfil 
its anxious hopes of better days. But driven, 
as such men were, from all situations of trust 
and power, and forced to screen themselves in 
retirement from the observation of prevailing 
tyranny, their means of exertion for the public 
good were unavoidably limited. One powerful 
instrument, however, for guiding public opinion, 
the press, was not to be silenced; and Mr. 
Sancroft stood up among the foremost to exert 
his superior talents in employing it for the 
cause of social order and sound religion. Two 
important publications proceeded about this 
time from his pen, which were extensively cir- 
culated and read with great avidity ; both ad- 
mirably adapted as prescriptions to heal the 
distempers of the times, and to induce a more 
healthful state of the political body. 

VOL. I. F 


The first of these, in Latin, was called Fur 
Prsedestinatus, being intended to expose the 
doctrines of rigid Calvinism, the extensive pre- 
valence of wrhich had advanced very far in de- 
Btroying all just and sound views of religion. 
The second, entitled " Modem Policies, taken 
from Machiavel, Borgia, and other choice 
authors,** was designed to hold up to deserved 
contempt the hollow and false policy which had 
been too successful in raising many worthless 
and profligate persons to stations of authority. 

The exposure of the Calvinistic doctrines, 
made in the Fur Praedestinatus, was peculiarly 
seasonable at that time, when both the Puritans 
and Independents, however they differed from 
each other on points of church discipline and 
government, yet concurred in maintaining these 
doctrines in their utmost rigour, and pushed 
them to the extreme of Antinomianism ; there- 
by obstructing the natural influence of Chris- 
tianity on the human heart, and giving a free 
rein to perverse and headstrong passions. A dia- 
logue is feigned between a thief condemned to 
immediate execution, and a Calvinistic preacher 
who came to move him to repentance for his 
'Crimes. The thief, although by his own ac- 
knowledgment he had lived in the commission of 
the worst enormities, is full of self-satisfaction ; 
maintains that he could not possibly have acted 


any other part than he has done, as all inen» 
being either elect or reprobate> are predestined 
to happiness or misery ; that the best actions> as 
they are reputed, partake of so much wicked- 
ness as to differ in no essential degree from the 
worst; that sinners fulfil the will of God as 
much as those who most comply with his out- 
ward commands ; and that God) as working irre- 
sistibly in all men, is the cause of the worst sins 
which they commit. He says that he had always 
reflected respecting himself in this manner, that 
either he must be elect or reprobate ; if the 
former> the Holy Spirit would operate so irre- 
sistibly as certainly to effect his conversion ; if 
the latter, all his care and diligence for effecting 
his salvation would rather do harm than good; 
but now he felt satisfied he was one of the elect, 
who, though they may fall into grievous sins, 
cannot fail of salvation. 

The dialogue is managed with great address 
and ability ; and, what must have given it its 
greatest effect, the statements of the Calvinistic 
doctrines are made in the actual words of the 
principal writers of that persuasion, of whom 
not fewer than forty are quoted, and specially 
referred to, in the course of this short work. It 
may perhaps be deemed, on the whole, the 
most successful exposure, which has ever ap- 
peared, of the tendency of the Calvinistic doc- 



trines when maintained in their unqualified 
strictness ; as showing that, instead of nurtur- 
ing and encouraging those feelings of humility, 
piety, and goodness, which are the genuine fruits 
of Christianity, they give birth to spiritual pride 
and self-satisfaction, give a free rein to licen- 
tious passions; bring the sinner to a hardened 
and impenitent state; and thus pervert the 
whole effect which this holy religion ought to 
have upon the human heart. 

By some it may be thought that this dialogue 
exhibits rather a caricature than a faithful re- 
presentation of the Calvinistic system of doc- 
trines ; that it describes their tendency in terms 
of too great exaggeration, to be admitted for a 
true description ; and that those who maintain 
them are thus charged with consequences 
which they themselves neither tolerate nor 
sanction. It should be remembered, however, 
that the question is not, what consequences the 
Calvinistic teachers themselves have deduced 
from their doctrines: but what consequences 
are legitimately deduced from them, and flow 
from them by a natural tendency. If it be 
proved that the consequences here described 
are such as must naturally be derived from 
them, when consistently maintained; then it 
will too probably follow, that every mind which 
imbibes the doctrines will be, in some degree 


or other, tainted with the evil ; and we arrive 
at a certain conclusion that these cannot be the 
genuine doctrines of a religion destined to pu- 
rify and meliorate the heart of man. 

It should also be remembered that, at the 
time when this tract was written, the effects of 
these doctrines were exhibited to the eye of 
every observer in the most frightful forms. 
Under the assumed sanction of a perverted re- 
ligion, the worst crimes had been perpetrated ; 
all the sacred institutions of the country had 
been torn up by the roots ; hypocrisy and en- 
thusiasm had, with a portion of the nation, 
whom the success of their machinations had 
raised on an eminence so as to be seen from far, 
usurped the place of genuine Christian feelings ; 
and they who signalized themselves by the com- 
mission of the boldest enormities, had made their 
unhallowed boast that they were doing the work 
of the Lord. At such a time, the disease was 
so violent in its symptoms, and so fatal in its 
effects, as to admit of no sparing hand in the 
application of the remedy. This was no season 
for disguising the truth, or flattering with soft 
and smooth speech. But it became an impera- 
tive duty to pourtray, in broad and deep lines, 
the harsh and rugged features of a system from 
which these evils had, in great measure, flowed, 
in order that men might be led to a just feeling 
and judgment of the truth. 



This little tract obtained a rapid circulation, 
and passed through several editions. It ap- 
peared first in 1651, and was published in an 
English dress in 1658. An answer to it of con- 
siderable bulk appeared in 1657, written in 
Latin by George Kendal, S, T. D., and printed 
at Oxford under the title of Fur pro Tribunal!, 
" the thief brought to judgment." This writer 
seems to have been worked up to the highest 
pitch of resentment towards the author of the 
tract, and employs against him at every page the 
most violent and opprobrious expressions. The 
real author appears not to have been suspected 
at the time, Kendal says that some persons 
had presumed to sanction it with the name of a 
bishop of our church, but that he could not 
believe such a paltry writer to be a son, much 
less a father of the English church, and he inti- 
mates his belief that it was imported into Lon- 
don either from Holland or Italy.* But, though 

* The following is a specimen of Kendal's language. 

De histrionici hujus^ qui vocatur, dialogbmi autore^ quis 
fuerit^ nee constat, nee refert. Nimis se prodit, non tantum 
Calviniani nominis, sed et totius orthodoxae doctrine bostem, 
forte juratum, certe infensum, utpote qui clarissimos omnes 
Ecclesiarum Reformatarum heroas et fundatissimos receptae 
religionis articiUos, scurrili quidem sed et inficeto stylo petulan- 
tius perstringit. 

The Fur Pnedestinatus appears to have been reprinted a short 
time before the year 1703, in a work entitled " Reflections on 
a Dialogue between a Calvinistical Pkeacher and a Thief." In 


the tract has never been published with the 
name of the author attached to it, general ru- 
mour has so constantly and decidedly ascribed 
it to the pen of Mr. Sancroft that there seems 
no room for doubt on the subject.* 

1703 an answer to this was published by F. Gailhard, who says 
there were strong presumptions against Dr. T. Pierce being the 
author of the Fur Praedestinatus. — See Ayscough's MSS. in the 
Brit. Mus. ▼. 4223. 

An edition of the Fur Praedestinatus was published in 1813, 
for Sharpe, Fenchurch Street ^ and in 1814^ an English trans- 
lation of it was prepared and published by Dr. Nichols, Dean 
of Middleham, with an Appendix, exemplifying the argument 
hy the case of a malefactor executed at Northampton. 

* Dr. Birch, in his Life of Tillotson, giving a short account 
of Archbishop Sancroft, (p. 160.) says that *' he joined with 
Mr. George Davenport and another of his friends in composing 
this satire on Calvinism.*' He does not state on what grounds 
he affirms that there was this association in the composition of 
the work. As the title-page of the Fur Praedestinatus states 
that it was published " Impensis F. G. Typis G. D.** (probably 
Francis Gayer and George Davenport, both intimate fnends of 
Mr. Sancroft,) it is very possible that Dr. Birch, or some one 
from whom he quoted, may have considered the persons desig- 
nated by these initials as joined in the composition of the woik, 
although the words clearly imply nothing more than that they 
united in the expense of publishing it : and this may be the 
sole origin of the notion that others besides Sancroft were con- 
cerned in writing it. Dr. Salter, in a note to the preface to 
Whichcote's Aphorisms, considers Sancroft as the sole author 
of the Fur Praedestinatus. — p. 105. Respecting George Daven- 
port, see note at p. 5 1 . He settled after the Restoration in the 
county of Durham, under the patronage of Bishop Cosin -, suc- 

F 4 


The tract entitled " Modern Policies," was 
probably first published in 1651 or 1652 ; but 
the precise time has not been ascertained. It 
is no slight proof of its great popularity, and, it 
may be added, of the effect it must have had on 
the state of public opinion, that a seventh edi- 
tion of it was published in 1657.* Indeed, as 
it was one of the most successful, so it was 
undoubtedly one of the ablest pamphlets that 
appeared in those times for the purpose of ex- 
posing the hypocritical and wicked policy of 
the then prevailing party. The title-page states 
that it was written by an eye-witness ; and, in 
truth, it bears the strongest internal evidence of 
proceeding from the pen of one who not only 
saw, but traced with a keen and penetrating 
eye, all the hidden and intricate windings of the 

ceeded Sancroft in the rectory of Houghton le Spring, in that 
county, in 1 664, and died in 1 677 ', having been a great bene- 
factor to the living. See Hutchison^s History of Durham. 

* An edition of it in 4to. was published in 1690, being an 
exact copy of the original, with the exception that to the dedi- 
cation the name W. Blois is affixed, being either a feigned 
name, or that of the person who then edited. It is published 
in Lord Somers*s Collection of Tracts, and in 1817 was repub- 
lished separa^y, with a short Preface and Appendix. It is 
supposed that several other editions of it have occurred. It is 
also known that the substance of the tract has appeared under 
different titles. Thus, in 1681, a small volume entitled Ma- 
chiavel Redivivus, by J. Yalden, Esq. was taken from it almost 


hollow and crooked policy which had been too 
successfully practised ; who not only discerned 
all its lineaments as they showed themselves on 
the surface, but followed it into those recesses 
of the heart in which it was engendered. The 
whole is written in a tone of free and light 
good-humour, covering a vein of keen and cut- 
ting irony. The quaintness of the style gives 
it a character of simplicity which is peculiarly 
pleasing. The matter is enforced and embel- 
lished with a great variety of illustrations, and 
a mass of quotations from different authors, 
which attest at once the extent of the author's 
reading, and his skill and judgement in apply- 
ing it. 

This tract was published at a time when it 
was dangerous to speak the truth in plain and 
undisguised terms, and when, therefore, the 
talent which our author possessed, and so hap- 
pily exercised, of striking down craft and 
wickedness with the shafts of satire and irony, 
was peculiarly valuable. " It is foolish," he 
says in his address to the reader, *' to laugh in 
the face of Dionysius, and dangerous to shrug 
before Andronicus. It is not good to tempt the 
displeasures of tyrants upon idle scores ; a thin 
shield will serve to keep out the style of a sati- 
rist; nor can I commend him that lost his 
bishopric for a romance. Therefore I brand 
not persons, but things ; and, if any man's guilt 


flashes in his face when he reads, let him mend 
the error, and he is unconcerned," 

It is dedicated " to my Lord R. B. E." by 
which initials, there seems little doubt, is meant 
Ralph (Brownrigg) Bishop of Exeter,* between 
whom and Mr. Bancroft great intimacy sub- 
sisted. The plan which the author pursues, is, 
that of laying down in detail, as the principles 
on which a true politician should act,, those 
false principles on which the wicked politicians 
of his day had too successfully acted, and then 
exposing those principles to the contempt and 
abhorrence of the reader, by the manner in which 
he states and illustrates them. At the close of 
each separate topic, he drops the ironical style, 
and gives a few short and pithy sentences of 
serious admonition to the reader. 

The tract is well worthy of perusal, as con- 
taining much valuable truth, happily expressed 
and applied, and as exhibiting a close and ac- 
curate knowledge of the human heart. It is 
to be contemplated, not only with reference to 
those times and characters, with a view to 
which it was more immediately written, but 
also as applying generally to all times in 
which similar delusions prevail, and similar 
practices are followed. Never indeed more 
than at t^e period to which it refers, were the 

* See note at p. 24. 


ways of unsound and nefarious policy more 
successfully pursued ; never was religion more 
used as a cloak for unhallowed ambition, and 
never were right and wrong more unhappily 
confounded. But, as long as the human heart 
remains what it is, so long, we may be too cer- 
tain, will occasions recur, in which similar arts 
of policy will be, more or less, pursued ; this 
exposure of them, therefore, can never be out 
of date, nor wholly without use in the applica- 

Amongst the literary works to which Mr. 
Sancroft gave a part of his attention during the 
republican times, was a Collation of the Vul- 
gate Translation of the New Testament, with 
those of Beza and other modems, in the Four 
Gospels and the Acts, published in 1655, in 
which the author's object is to shew that the 
Vulgate reading is preferable to all the later 
ones. This work* was undertaken under the 

* The book is scarce. It is entitled, Veteris Inteqiretis 
com Beza aliisque lecentioribus Collatio, in Quatuor Evangeliis 
et Apostolonim Actis, in qua, annon saepius absque justd satis 
eamd hi ab illo discesserint, disquiritur. Authore Johanne 
Boisio Ecdesiae Eliensis Canonico, opus auspiciis Reverendi 
FnesuHs, Lanceloti, Wintoniensis Episcopi, m imnm^vnty 
caBptam et perfectum. London, 1655. The only copy I have 
seen is one in tbe possession o( the Rev. H. J. Todd, in which 
is the fdlowing in MS. by an old hand, ^' Pnefationis hujus 
ad Lectorem Autor perhibetur Gul. Sancroft postea Arphiep. 


auspices of Lancelot Andrews, fiishop of Win- 
chester, by John Boys, Prebendary of Ely. 
The object of it is to defend the Vulgate, which 
had long borne the sanction of the church, 
against the innovations of modern translators. 
What part of the work itself came from the 
hand of Mr. Sancroft, cannot be ascertained ; 
but the Preface, though appearing without a 
name, has been universally ascribed to his pen ; 
and indeed it bears such striking evidences of 
his peculiar style and manner, as scarcely to 
admit of a doubt. After lamenting that the 
learned persons to whom he refers, Beza and 
others, had not rather employed their time in 
correcting the Vulgate than in making entirely 
new translations, he thus proceeds, with allu- 
sion to the state of the times : 

" Observe, reader, with me, and lament 
over, as you observe, the character of an age 
verging to decrepitude, and of a world hasten- 
ing to destruction. Now-a-days, no reforma- 
tion is acceptable, except when, the foundations 

Cantuar/* In the Biographia Britannica^ it is stated, in giving 
the list of Archbishop Saacroft's publications, that he edited 
Bishop Andrews's Defence of the Vulgate translation of the 
Bible, with a preface of his own. This description is not accu- 
rate 5 both the title-page and the preface state that John Boys 
was the' author of the work 3 Sancroft probably assisted in it, 
or superintended it generally. 


being entirely rooted up, every thing rises new. 
To such a degree do we now breathe, and sigh 
over (spiramus suspiramusque) all things new ; 
new lights, a new England, a new world, a 
new and fifth monarchy, a new and fifth gospel, 
if it so please God." In another passage, 
" Hear, reader, but in a whisper, lest the peo- 
ple overhear ; the worst of all methods of Re- 
formation, although the newest, is to destroy 
for the purpose of building ; which plan those 
who have hitherto followed, have procured (or 
us an exchange, not like that of Homer, of gold 
for brass ; but like that of Horace, of round for 
square ; that is, of things unstable and perish- 
ing for firm and durable : for, whereas it is the 
character of old things to be firm, like a cube 
or fourcomered figure; so most new things 
bear resemblance to a sphere, which is moved 
by the slightest touch, as standing on a . point 
only, and having no basis.* He states at the 
close that the learned Lancelot Andrews, then 
Bishop of Ely, wished to undertake this de- 
fence of the Vulgate; but, being himself pre- 
vented by various public occupations, com- 
mitted the work to John Boys, a man of all 

* The author of iHis preface deals in quaint expressions^ and 
occasionaUy condescends to a pun. In one part he says, everrit 
domam ^idaa evangelica^ non evertit. 


others best qualified for it) and well known 
to the learned for his notes on St. Chrysostom. 

From the time of Mr. Sancroft's ejection 
from his fellowship to the Restoration, in 1660, 
the particulars of his private history can only 
be scantily gleaned from such casual notices as 
happen to have been preserved. He appears 
to have found an asylum principally, during 
the earlier portion of this interval, at his bro- 
ther s house at Fresingfield, paying occasional 
visits to his friends in London and in other 
parts. But even the places of his residence 
can scarcely be discovered, except from the 
superscription of such letters as have been 
preserved, addressed to him at different pe- 

The emoluments of his academical situation 
having ceased, his means of maintaining him- 
self must liave been greatly reduced* It has 
appeared, from one of his former letters, that 
an advantageous offer was made to him about 
the time of his losing his fellowship : it is pro- 
bable either that he did not accept this oflFer, 
or that he did not long retain the situation to 
which it referred; for we find him frequently 
changing his residence, and apparently always 
visiting amongst his private friends. There is 
reason to believe, that some little fortune came 
to him on his fathers death; possibly some 


profit accrued to him from his publications; 
and he may have been enabled to make some 
sayings from the emoluments of his academical 
situation. But, whatever were his circum- 
stances^ at the best far from affluent, many of 
those who were sufferers in the same cause with 
himself were reduced to a state of real destitu-* 
tion; and, as will be abundantly seen from 
some of the following letters, he on many oc- 
casions displayed a noble spirit of liberality in 
imparting a portion of his own scanty means 
for the relief of those amongst his brethren who 
were more in need than himself. 

In March, 1652, we find him resident at 
Triplow, in Cambridgeshire^ and writing from 
thence to his friend Mr. (afterwards Sir Henry) 
North.* He appears to have been consulted 
respecting the exercises of some young aca«» 
demician, and to have passed at first a judg- 
ment which he discovered to be too unfa- 
vourable. — " Though it be unusual," he says, 
" for the foot to preserve the horse, yet here, 
beyond expectation, the prose has rescued the 
verse. AH that can be said in my excuse is, 
that, if they be not theirs whom I suspected, 
they are his who, if he thrives on at this high 

* See Familiar Letters of Dr. William Sancroft to Mr. 
North, p. 1. — published in 1757. 


rate, will quickly write as lofty and as trim a 
line, as either Thorius or Heinsius. Had the 
theme been one word shorter which you gave 
him, the boy had clearly confuted it, and so 
, sudden a growth might well have put in a 
demur to Tiemo repente fuit. In a grove so 
fairly promising, (though I have taken but a 
glance or two at it) I dare assure myself I dis- 
cover the poetical laurel happily prosperous 
among the rest; green even in winter, and 
sweetly flourishing upon so uncouth a subject. 
You do well to love and to cherish so fair a 
morning, since it is a sure prognostic of a beau- 
tiful day likely to follow." 

Although he was driven from his residence 
at Cambridge, he appears to have maintained a 
correspondence with his friends there, and to 
have taken an interest in the affairs of the 
University. The following letters, addressed 
to him by H. Paman, give an interesting and 
lively picture of the state of things there. 

To my ever honoured Friend, Mr. Wm. Sancrq/l, 

from Henry Paman.* 

Dated St. John's, March 5th, 1652. 

" Honoured Tutor, 

" I did intend this day to have been 
at Triplow, but that some letters from my 

* Harl MSS. 3783. p. 124. 


father, which inquire after your health, ar- 
rested my resolution. I hope, by this oppor- 
tunity, to know that your ague is gone, and 
your health renewed and young again. — F . . . 
at London thanked God for the bitter mercy.* 
And Peters more scurvily said, the business 
was so long doubtful that God was brought to 
his hums and hawes, which way he should 
fling the victory. Most believe, it was an Edge- 
hill victory. After so long banishment, the 
Common Prayer last Thursday at night entered 
into Trinity chapel, and once more consecrated 
it. Dr. Hill, next morning, they say, snuffed; 
he thought sure his incense would not ascend 
with strange fire, and presently swept* the 
chapel with an exposition. Dr. Comber had 
leave to be buried in his own vineyard ; and, 
though he might not live upon his own ground, 
he may sleep and rest there. He showed so 
much gentleness while he lived, there is no fear 
of an angry tormenting ghost." 

To Mr. Wm. Sancroft, from Henry Paman, 

(At Mr. Gayer*8 Lodgings, in the Middle Temple.) 

" St. John's, March 30th, 1653. 

" Honoured Tutor, 

" I humbly thank you for the account 
I received of your health, which is always very 

* Hiis seems to allude to the great naval battle fought be- 
tween the English and Dutch admirals, Blake and Van Tromp, 
for three days, about February 18, 1 75%, See Echard. 

VOL. I. G 


acceptable, I am sorry to hear Mr. Gayer has 
got an ague. I was with Mr. Orator, (for so his 
first and excellent fruit of his office yesterday 
makes me remember him,) who returns his hum- 
ble service. Mr. Peters preached here on Sun- 
day, and, in the general, cheated the company 
and expectation with a sober honest sermon; 
only he was not so severe as altogether to forget 
what many came for, but satisfied them some- 
times in words and sometimes in action. At 
Ely, he told the people, the draining of the fens 
was a divine work, having a resemblance to 
the work of the third day. Mr. Boreman 
preached yesterday, who, they say, deceived 
few men's expectations, for it was generally 
thought a grave piece of afiectation. He told 
Mrs. Comber, she need not use the orator, for 
he would sufficiently supply that; which yet 
was the fairest piece of the solemnity. He 
observed that the Dr. was bom of New-year's 
day, and that it was then presaged he would 
be a deodate, a fit new-year s gift for God to 
bestow on the world. He was a Joseph, the 
twelfth son, and christened on the Epiphany 
twelfth day — born and christened on two emi- 
nent holydays, in high esteem with the church 
constantly before these times. He drove the cha- 
riot of this college for fourteen years, till a bois- 
terous northern storm cast him out of the box. 
He was called to dispute at St. Andrew's in Scot- 


land; they wondered as much at his subtilty, 
as we have done at their strange actions since. 
-^These are some fragments which I make bold 
to send you of that long meal we had, without 
one drop of liquor. The solemnity was pri- 
vate, in Trinity College — some few invited had 
gloves and ribbons, but no entertainment be- 

" Honoured Tutor, 

" Your most real servant, 
" Henry Paman. 

" My most humble service to Mr. Gayer." 
To Mr. Wm. Sancrofty from Henry Paman.* 

Dated St. John's^ July 3d, 1656. 

** The business of the commencement 
is over, from whence none returns with fairer 
credit than Mr. Frost, who kept the B. D. act. 
Dr. Boylston the other. They call him Dr. 
Deborah, for so is his wife's name; and she, 
they say, the greatest prophetess. Our nation 
of physicians still increase ; we have five Drs. 
this year; so numerous we are, that we shall 
soon be reduced to the necessity of practising 
upon one another, as the great fish on the 
smaller. We had one B.D. out of Suffolk, 
who came rather to make sport and satisfy his 
wife, than for credit to the University; his 

* Harl. MSS. 3783. 192. 



name is Beversham. I will give you a taste of 
him. In his English sermon upon this text — 
* The wind bloweth where it listeth/— " A twig 
from the stem of Jesse whipt Nicodemus into 
a right understanding of regeneration." In his 
prayer, this was a piece of confession ; " Lord, 
the babe of grace in the womb of our souls 
has not leapt at the tidings of our salvation." 

During the years 1653, 4 and 5, his letters 
are principally addressed to him at Fresing- 
field, at the house of his brother, Mr. Thomas 
Sancroft. Two more letters from him to Mr. 
North, written in 1655, happen to be pre- 
served. They are no further valuable, than 
as they tend to unfold the private features of 
his character and to display his mode of think- 
ing and feeling in his familiar hours. 

The first of these,* dated February 13th, 
evidently refers to some composition which 
his friend had requested him to revise. — 
" What you so kindly proffer," he says, " I 
shall impatiently expect, and most gladly re- 
ceive, though not as a judge, yet as a friend. 
It is but the handsome disguise of your love 
and friendliness, that, where you mean a kind- 
ness, you will pretend to receive one, and so 
render your courtesy still the more obliging. 

* See Familiar Letters to Mr. North, p. 3. 


Nor can you need any approbation of mine be- 
fore you appear in public; it is only an as- 
surance of your friendship, that you admit me 
into your tiring room to see you act your part 
there, before you tread the stage. And there- 
fore, though I neither hope, nor pretend to 
send back your papers with any advantages 
they bring not with them, yet can I not refuse 
the entertainment you proffer me in the sight 
of so much of neat and elegant (as I promise 
myself in your composures), after having been 
so long a stranger to any thing of the na- 

The second,* dated from Fresingfield, June 
27th, is written to his friend residing at Cam- 
bridge. He says — " It is commencement time, 
and I must not dissemble my curiosity. If 
you please to give me the Cambridge Iliad in 
your nutshell, and spend' your next page in 
the names of the respondents with your thesis, 
and what else you shall judge worth the re- 
marking, you will oblige me. From hence 
you cannot expect I should tell you any thing, 
but that I have here thick shades, and cool 
walks, but no company in them, except that of 
my own thoughts.' In which, if I say I often 
meet with Bury and Bansfield and Cambridge 
too (for your sake and Mr. Widdington s,) you 

» Familiar Letters to Mr. Norths p. 5. 



will easily believe me ; since 'tis hard to forget 
so much worth and so much friendliness met 
together. Cebes's Table, illustrated by the 
hand you mention, will look like one of 
ApeUes's pieces, new washed by a Vandyke 
or Rubens; and the last hand, if it creates not 
new beauties, will discover what else had lain 
hid. That I have not all this while waited 
upon the Doctor at Bury, and my friends at 
Bansfield, (for whom yet I preserve a most 
high and cordial respect,) attribute it, if you 
please, partly to my having been unhorsed since 
the beginning of May, and partly to the slug- 
gishness of my temper, which renders me un- 
willing to stir, especially in summer time; 
which yet is not so great, but that the very 
mention of going over sea, in so good company 
as that of Mr. Grardiner, is enough to rouse 
me, though not so far as to form any steady 
design or resolve, or to make him any proposi- 
tion concerning it as from me, yet so as to 
inquire further of you, if you be so for privy 
to his designs, when he would go, and whither, 
and how long he will stay out. I am heartily 
sorry that he cannot yet take truce with his 
grief, that sits so nigh him: I know nothing 
more likely to put an end to it, than either to 
travel beyond sea, or to re-marry at home. In 
which estate, that Dick Holden tiurives so well. 


I am glad to hear; God send him joy in his 
wife's fruitfulness, and his brother contentment 
in the want of it ; which I hope I shall not fail 
to preserve in myself too." 

Amongst the distinguished persons with whom 
Mr. Sancroft maintained at this time a fami- 
liar correspondence, was Dr. John Cosin. This 
very eminent divine, in common with many- 
other luminaries and ornaments of the English 
church, had suflfered severely from the troubles 
of the times, and was now awaiting in banish- 
ment the return of happier days. As he bore 
a most important share at a subsequent period 
in laying the foundation of Mr. Saacroft's ele- 
vation in the church, it may not be amiss to 
give the outline of his history. He was bom 
at Norwich in 1594, received his education at 
Caius College, Cambridge, and became fellow 
of that college. In early life, recommended, as 
is probable, by his talents and his proficiency in 
learning, he found two eminent patrons. Dr. 
Overall, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, to 
whom he was librarian, and Dr. R. Neile; 
Bishop of Durham, to whom he was domestic 
chaplain, and who, in 1624, collated him to a 
stall in the cathedral church of Durham. He 
became, at an early period, obnoxious to the 
Puritan party, having been known to assist at 



meetings at the Bishop of Durham's, 
with Dr. Laud and others. In 1634, he was 
made master of Peterhouse; in 1640, he held 
the situation of vice-chancellor at Cambridge, 
and was appointed Dean of Peterborough in 
the same year. In 1642, he suffered under the 
storm which threatened to overwhelm all that 
was upright and honest in the nation. He 
was impeached by the Commons through the 
influence of the Puritans ; all his preferments 
were sequestered, and himself obliged to fly 
the kingdom. He retired to Paris, where he 
afterwards officiated as chaplain to a part of 
Queen Henrietta's household, and as minister 
to a congregation of Protestants ; and employj^ 
himself in literary pursuits. His circumstan- 
ces at this period seem to have been very far 
from affluent. After the Restoration, he took 
possession of his former preferments ; and the 
king, reflecting on his services and his suffer- 
ings, made him Bishop of Durham. He filled 
this see for the space of eleven years, and was 
eminently distinguished from the munificent use 
which he made of his ample revenue. 

The following is part of a letter written to Mr. 
Sancroft by this eminent person during his exile 
at Paris. It is interesting, as affording an at- 
testation from such a quarter of the estimation 


in which Mr. Sancroft's name was at this time 
held in the church for general probity, upright- 
ness, and firmness of character. The letter is 
addressed " To my very worthy and honoured 
friend, Mr. W. Sancroft, at London," — it is 
dated Paris, February 3, 1656. After men- 
tioning the gratification he had received firom 
the society of a gentleman whom Mr. Sancroft 
had recommended to him, and who was now 
returning to London, he proceeds* — " In the 
mean while he will have the pleasure and be- 
nefit of being near to you, whose religious and 
prudent instructions have already rendered him 
so great a lover of virtue, and fixed such prin- 
ciples of faith and good life in him, that by the 
grace of God he will remain most constant 
and true to them all. I am right glad to hear 
still, (as I have been told by divers persons 
heretofore,) how firm and unmoved you con- 
tinue your own standing in the midst of these 
great and violent storms that are now raised 
against the church of England ; which, for my 
part, notwithstanding the outward glory and 
dress that she had be in these evil times taken 
from her, yet I honour and reverence above 
all the other churches of the world: for she 
bears upon her, more signally than any other 

* See Harleian MSS. 3783. 102. 


that I know does, the marks of Christ, which, 
when all is done, will be our greatest glory. 

" For the favour which you sent me, I 
render you many thanks; and, though you call 
it tantillum, yet it will help me to a greater 
purchase than I could have been able here to 
make without it; totus enim sum in conquirendis 
bonis libris. And besides, the token is the more 
acceptable to me, because it comes from a person 
whose worth and virtue is at a high value with 
me, and of whose good acquaintance I have 
been long desirous. Mr. Davenport (who truly 
is ad mentem meam) will say the rest and tell 
you after what condition we make shift here to 
live in this place, where I am, 

" Sir, 
** Your most affectionate 
" and humble Servant, 

'' J. COSIN.'' 

In the year 1657, Mr. Sancroft had the offer 
of a chaplaincy in the family of Lord Herbert; 
an appointment carrying with it indeed no great 
prospect of advantage, besides that of an agree- 
able retreat for a gentleman and a man of 
letters in the polished society which the house 
of a nobleman was likely to afford. The fol- 
lowing letter from Bishop Brownrigg, convey- 
ing to him the offer, shows that a situation of 


this description was an object to which his 
wishes were at this time directed. 

To my very worthy Friend y Mr. Saner of tJ^ 

Highgate, October lOth^ 1657. 

" Loving and beloved Sir, 

" You may remember that I speaking 
with you about a chaplain for my Lady Capell, 
you then expressed your inclination to ac- 
cept of such an employment: now. Sir, I re- 
ceived this day a letter from my Lady Herbert, 
my Lady Capell's eldest daughter, who is 
married to my Lord Herbert, heir to the Mar- 
quis of Worcester, by which she is desirous I 
might find out a chaplain for her, to live in 
their house ; the salary will be £40 per annum, 
and all other accommodations ; the work a ser- 
mon in the forenoon on Sundays, and prayers 
every day. I know the allowance, though 
otherwise competent, yet is unworthy of you ; 
but the character which is given of him whom 
she desires (as is largely set out by Mr. Baker, 
my Lady Capell's chaplain) is so fitted for 
you that I could not forbear writing to you, 
heartily wishing you would consent to this re- 
quest if your health will allow you to enter oa 
it. The letter sent to me was dated in August^ 

* Haileian MSS. 3784. 7. 


but came not to my hand till this 10th October; 
but I will speedily write to Cashiobury, where 
my Lady lives, near St. Albans, and then, 
upon your answer to me, I shall forthwith ac- 
quaint them with my recommendations of you. 
Sir, you will readily interpret this offer of mine 
in meliorem partem, my heart is not straight- 
ened to you, though my hands and all opportu- 
nities be. With my most hearty love sealed 
up to you, I rest, 

" Sir, 

" Yours, animitus, 

" Ra. Exon." 

He was probably prevented from accepting 
this situation by the project which he appears 
to have contemplated for some time, and which 
he now matured, of travelling into foreign parts. 
This design was opposed to the wishes of 
many of his friends, who thought that his 
talents and services could ill be spared at 
home. One of them, writing to him, Sep- 
tember 7, 1657, says — " Think no more of the 
sea; you may challenge the privilege tut6 clarere 
domi. Your fame will go thither without your 
person; and you will obtain that by sitting 
still, which others would vainly pursue by 
travel ; orbe clues toto. Let others go on ship- 
board to be known and heard of; you need 


not, neither can we spare you ; hundreds will 
tell you so." Another writing to him, February 
18th, 165^,* while h^ was absent, says — " The 
nation cannot be well without you; never was 
it so much distempered as since you have left 
it; it hath lost both its health and its wits, and 
all in it are either sick or phrenetical : till you 
return, we expect no amendment." 

But, whatever may have been the warm ex- 
pressions of his friends on this occasion, we 
may safely conclude, from all that we know of 
his character, that he would not have with- 
drawn himself to foreign parts, had he per- 
ceived any method by which his services at 
home could avail for the support of the cause 
which he had so deeply at heart. His first 
project appears not to have extended beyond 
the fixing his residence in Holland. That 
country was now becoming the great centre of 
union for the exiled royalists of England ; and 
he probably found there a society more suited 
to his habits and wishes, than he could do in 

He appears to have first passed over into 
Holland in November, 1657. A letterf ad- 
dressed to him at Amsterdam about the middle 
of the month, shows that he was then resident 

* Harl. MSS. 3784. 84. &c. t Ibid. 3784. 174. 


in that city. In the next month, we find him 
removed to Utrecht, where, as appears from 
the superscriptions of letters addressed to him,* 
he continued to reside during the whole of 
1658, and till about the middle of 1659. His 
character, as a divine of eminence, followed him 
to Holland: in August, 1658, he was honouredf 
with an invitation to preach a sermon before 
the Princess of Orange ;:|; and, soon afterwards, 
a proposal was set on foot for appointing him 
one of her chaplains. We find no trace of the 
appointment having ever taken place, although 
nothing is known of the cause of the failure. 
In the autumn of 1658, he was joined in Hol- 

* HarL MSS. 3783. 105, &c. 

t See a letter from Dr. T. Brown, dated August 15th, 1 658, 
to Mr. Sancroft*s friend, Mr. Michael Honeywood. — Harl. MSS. 
3783. 60. 

X Mary, the eldest daughter of Charles the First, was mar- 
ried to William of Nassau, Prince of Orange, in 1641. Her 
hushand died of the small-pox, November, 1650, and nine 
days after his death, she was delivered of a son, afterwards Wil- 
liam the Third. (Hist, of William HI.)— In Harl. MSS. 3784. 
172, 173, are two letters, dated the Hague, September 18th 
and 24th, 1 658, from Thomas Page to Mr. Sancroft at Utrecht, 
in which, after mentioning a proposal made by Dr. Brown for 
him (Mr. Sancroft) to become " an officiating chaplain to the 
Princess," he says, *' No man will be more forward to assist 
you in that enterprize than himself, if you will endeavour to 
procure the King's or Duke of York's, or any other recom- 
mendation in that behalf, which may appear valuable.** 


land by a very intimate friend, named Robert 
Grayer, with whom he had long been in habits 
of frequent correspondence; and this, gentle- 
man tempted him to undertake a tour in the 
following year to the southern parts of Europe* 
In a letter* addressed to him in the month of 

* See Harl. MSS. 3784. 41. A very close intimacy appears 
to have subsisted between this gentleman's family and Mr. San- 
croft. A Mr. John Gayer, probably brother to Robert Gayer, 
died a short time before this, and bequeathed a sum of money 
and a small annuity to Mr. Sancroft, which he mentions as a 
debt in the following clause of his will : — " I leave in particular 
the sum of ^200 due from me to my loving friend, Wm. San- 
croft, clerk, and also ^60 by the year, during the natural life 
of the said Wm. Sancroft, due to him horn me.** — Harl. MSS. 
3784. 208. There is a letter (Harl. MSS. 3783. 97.) to Mr. 
Sancroft, signed Revera Constanter, March 12th, 1657, which 
it appears from internal evidence is written by his fellow tra- 
veller, Mr. Robert Gayer. The following extracts from it are 
worth producing, in proof of the enthusiastic friendship which 
he bore to Mr. Sancroft. 

" Deab Friend, 

** I received yours, Monday, March 7th, but I could 
not make return sooner than this. I am sorry to hear you 
threaten us with so long an absence, and a greater distance 5 but 
I hope to see you there, if not here, before you remove your 
quarters ; but go you whither you will, you shall not escape 
me. ril follow as close as your shadow, and unless the warm 
reviving morning sun of your ever past kindnesses set in the 
evening of our days, Revera Constanter will never leave you 
80 : montes atque aquora spcmo. Sir, as soon as you will 
please to send me your bond, I shall give another to the same 


October, Mr. Gayer says, ** my greatest de- 
sign in Holland is to gain your company ; and 
my inclinations are, to reside there this winter, 
if yours do not lead them another way; and in 
the spring, if my desire suit with yours, I shall 
be glad to creep into a warmer climate, as 
Italy, or elsewhere you please, and think will 
best suit your constitution." 

The project of travelling, which was thus in- 
tended for the spring of 1659, was not put into 
' execution till about the month of July.* Pre- 

e£fect, to those hands you appoint. And for the annuity, we 
must suspend till we see the issue at a month or six weeks 
time, which possibly may give me a power to make good my 
brother's engagements, to tie land for security of your annuity, 
which^ when in my power, revera, I promise to do it. Friend, 
my ink is almost frozen again, but my heart and real inclination 
to serve you will never freeze, but with the hand that holdeth 
the pen that telleth you, I shall not need a secretary^ to give an 
aiccompt of the execution of your so small commands, which are 
the measures of your kindnesses to him who in the very serving 
you hath so high a reward.*' 

* One letter, dated in June, is directed to Mr. Sancroft at 
Utrecht ; and another, dated August 28th, is addressed to Cre- 
neva. Thus, in the interval between these dates, he moved 
from the former to the latter place. See Harl. MSS. 3783. 1 03, 
104. The charges of this journey seem to have been chiefly, 
if not wholly, borne by Mr. Gayer, who was probably a man of 
fortune. In the Harleian Collection (3783. 1.) is a letter, 
dated London, May 12th, 1659, from Robert Abdy to Mr. 
Paolo del Sera at Venice, telling him that he will have re- 
ceived a letter of April 15 th, by the hands of Mr. Gayer, de- 


viously to his departure from Utrecht, Mr. 
Sancroft received the intelligence of the death 
of his stepmother, his father's second wife ; and 
in a letter to his brother, on the occasion, he 
expresses himself in the following feeling terms. 

Mr. W. Sancroft to his Brother.* 

May 20th, 1659. 

'' Dear brother, yours of May 3, 1 re- 
ceived the 18th of the same; and in it, as I 
ought, resented the news of my mother-in-law's 
death. Tis an object I will fix and charge 
upon my memory; and often represent to my 
thoughts my dear father lying buried betwixt 
his two wives ; and though I am now ready to 
wander further from you, yet will I hope, one 
day, to return and find my last home at his feet, 
which is my desire. Upon the news you send 

nriDghim to furnish him with the value of ;£1000. He pro- 
ceeds — " This gentleman (the hearer hereof) does accompany 
him in his travels, and will therefore, I suppose, have little or 
no occasion to take up any money ; yet, not knowing what 
may fall out, I do herehy entreat you, (if he shall desire it,) 
to furnish liim with the value of ^100 sterling, either in money 
or in hills, as he shall desire it, for any parts of Italy, taking 
his receipts or hills for the same, which shall he punctually 
satisfied by your friend and servant/* — At the bottom is added, 
— " My friend's name above-mentioned is Mr. William Sand- 

* Tann.MSS. 51.66. 

VOL. I. H 


me, it cannot be unseasonable to reflect a little 
upon our mortality ; especially there being now 
none left upon earth who gave to us those supe- 
rior relations of father and mother, scarce of 
uncle or aunt ; so that we stand in the front of 
the battle, and in order of nature must look to 
be the next spoils of death's all-conquering 
dart. Let us not then flatter ourselves, bro- 
ther; for in earnest we grow old; and 'tis 
strange that, of so many as we are, none have 
yet laid their heads in the dust : which we shall 
do with greater confidence and comfort, if be- 
times we provide and prepare for it; nay, and 
with joy too, if we consider how wretched 
a world we bid farewell to ; God Almighty send 
the next generation a more comfortable pass 
through it than we are like to see." 

It has * already appeared that Mr. Bancroft, 
in a noble spirit of munificence, was in the 
habit of dispensing a portion of his contracted 
means for the relief of the necessities of his 
suflering brethren. Some letters addressed to 
him about this time, further illustrate this 
amiable feature of his character. 

The following extract of a letter from Robert 
Creychtone* expresses gratitude for favours re- 

* There ^eems every reason to believe that this is the Robert 
Creighton who was afterwards Bishop of Bath and Wells. 
He was bom in 1593, and was educated at Trinity College, 


ceived from him and Mr. Gayer, in as glowing 
terms as can well be imagined. It is dated 
from the Hague, June 16, 1659, and directed to 
him at Utrecht.* 

**' My very worthy friend and brother, 
Mr. Sancroft, you are a most strange and mira- 
culous good man to me, I must confess, who 
have pursued me with the greatest benefits, 
favours, and courtesies, that I ever received from 
any man, ever since I had the happiness, and I 
may truly call it a happiness, to know you ; your 

Cambridge, where he was afterwards elected fellow. He was 
pablic orator of the university from the year 1627 to 1639; his 
name also appears in the list of Greek professors : he seems to 
have been forced to resign this office, and to have been re-ap- 
pointed to it at the time of the Restoration. During the re- 
bellion his loyalty brought him into danger, and he escaped to 
Charles II. who made him his chaplain. At the Restoration he 
was made Dean of Wells, and in 1670 Bishop of Bath and 
Wells, but held the latter dignity only two years. He was 
esteemed a very learned man ; his principal work is a transla- 
tion from Greek into Latin, Sylvester Syguropolus's History of 
the Council of Florence, printed at the Hague, 1660. — See 
Biographia Britannica, and Kennett's MS. Collections, 986. 
On the letter here quoted in the text, Mr. Baker (see Baker's 
MSS. at Cambridge) remarks, *' These are good words 3 what 
returns he made I have not read, though he was afterwards a 
bishop." From the preceding account it appears that he was 
a bishop only for two years, and that at a time when Dr. 
Sancroft was holding high situations in the church. 
* Harl. MSS. 3783. 105. 

H 2 


kindness and swelling bounty have exceeded the 
very name of bounty, and the greediest hope 
that could arise in myself, if I had had pretences 
towards you, or yet dependance oi> you. Three 
several times I have been plentifully supplied 
by yourself, and through your means, from that 
noble gentleman Mr. Grayer, but this last ex- 
ceeding all> and transcending the vastness of 
your own goodwill in giving, and my modesty in 
receiving : you have sown your seed in barren 
ground, you may be sure, for no earth is able 
to bring forth crops to so redundant and over- 
flowing seed ; yet you shall never sow it on an 
unthankful soil, for, whilst I live, I never shall 
forget it." 

An instance has already appeared of his 
bounty to Dr. Cosin. The following letters 
from that eminent person in his exile at Paris, 
show that the favours of a pecuniary nature be- 
stowed upon him by Mr. Bancroft, and by his 
friend Mr. Gayer, were by no means confined 
to a single instance. 

Trom Dr. Cosin.* — ** For my very much honoured 
friend Mr. William Sancroft, at Utrecht.'' 

Dated Paris, June 26th, 1659. 

" Sir, 

" By the order which you were pleased 
to give unto Mr. J. Abeels, of Amsterdam, I 

* Hari. MSS. 3783. 103. 


have here at Paris received 119 crowns tournois^ 
which, being so great a supply to my present 
condition, and coming from so good a hand as 
your's is, layeth a very great obligation upon 
me to return you my most grateful acknow- 
ledgment of your special kindness and favour 
to me herein. It may well be that I am in this 
particular likewise beholden to Mr. Gayer, of 
whose generous freedom and bounty I have had 
divers testimonies heretofore; Mr. Abeels' 
letter names him not; but I heard from Mr. 
Davenport some while since, that you and he 
were together at Utrecht, where I beseech God 
to send his best blessings upon you both. I 
have of late lost the force of my reading eye 
(having never had but one for that purpose), 
and I am endeavouring every day, by the art 
and help of the most skilful oculist here, to re- 
cover it again ; whereof they put me in good 
hope when the cataract is once come to matu- 
rity, which they say will be about eight or ten 
months hence. In the mean while, not to be 
able to read (nor to write but by guess as I now 
do) is the greatest misery that ever yet befel 
me. I desire Mr. Gayer and you to accept of 
my thanks, and with the continuance of your 
good affection to me to let me have the benefit 
of your prayers." 




From Dr. Cosin to Mr. Sancroft* " chez M. Per- 
rot, rue de Chanoins, Geneve.'' 

Dated August 28th^ 1659. 

'' Sir, 

" I have received your's of August 9 ; 
but my sight is so obstructed (as it has been 
now these five or six months together, with a 
cataract in both my eyes) that I cannot, without 
much difficulty, either read or write any letters; 
yet I neglected not to make my acknowledg- 
ments in writing, and to give you thanks for 
what you ordered to be paid unto me here at 
Paris in June last, though it should seem my 
letter is not come to your hands, and therefore 
I will renew my thankfulness to you again, 
being more obliged to you for the several good 
supplies you have been pleased to make and 
to procure to me, than I am any way able to 
recompense. And what I say to you, I beseech 
you say for me to Mr. Robert Gayer, whom I 
have great reason, among others that freely dis- 
pense their piety, to affect and honour. His 
intended journey, and your's into Italy, where 
you can see little else but vice and vanity, if 
God bless our hopes now begun in our own 
country, will be soon at an end : for we are 
here assured that there is in England a consi- 

* Harl. MSS. 3783. 104. 


derable army of ten thousand about Chester, 
and divers others in several parts of the king- 
dom, that are resolved to put off their new 
masters^ and to call in the king, who, with his 
brother the Duke of York, is already gone that 
way, to attend God's good pleasure and bless- 
ing upon us all. I am glad to hear from you 
that my history of the Scripture Canon* pleased 
you so well ; but it was my late sitting up at 
nights to follow that work, that lost me the 
vigour of my eyes, and will retard me, till I 
recover my sight, from perfecting any other 
such treatise which I intended to publish, 
whereof that which Dr. Morley showed you^if 
Grod give me leisure, is like to be the first." 

The course of their travels may be traced by 
incidental notices. The following letter to Mr. 
Sancroft shows that they passed through Spa 
and M aestricht in their way to Greneva. It at- 
tests further, his munificence to his friends in 
distress, and shows how clear\y at this time the 
hope of the happy political change which en- 
sued was now beginning to dawn. 

* The title-page of this work is as follows ; " A Scholastical 
History of the Holy Scripture ; or tho certain and indubitate 
Books thereof, as they are received in the Church of England. 
Compiled by Dr. Cosin, D«. of P. and M^ of St. P. C. in the 
UniTcreity of Cambridge (now sequestered.)" London^ 1657. 



From John Efrles ** d M. S. d MaestrkhC* 

Dated Bruxelles^ June SOth, (1659.) 

" I hope it will be better, for all our 
sakes, and I hope shortly, though I can give 
you no other ground for it, but a general cheer- 
fulness in the looks and words of those that 
should know best, and have no cause to be so 
cheerful if things were otherwise. Truly if 
we be not better shortly, I am afraid we shall 
be much worse than we have been ; to-morrow 
will tell us more, and if there be any thing 
worth your hearing, I will send it to the Spa 
after you. I wish you a good journey, as far 
as you go, and that you may not have cause 
to travel very far. My service, with all kind- 
ness, to my good friend Mr. Honywood, who, 
without diminution of my thanks to you, I must 
suspect accessary to all kind offices done me by 
his friends." 

They appear to have continued at Geneva 
till about the middle of September. In the 
month of November, we find them at Venice;! 
in the following March, at Padua, where Mr. 
Sancroft entered his name as a student ; J and 

* Baker's MSS. at Cambridge, v. 34. p. 117. 
f By two letters addressed to him there, bearing date Nov. 
6th and 2l8t, 1659. See Hai-l. MSS. 3784. 97. 98. 

} See a notice to thic effect from a MS. volume in St. John's 


in May* or June we leam that they were' at 
Rome ;t but through what places they passed, 
and at what periods, between these two cities, 
cannot be ascertained. They were resident in 
the latter city when the following letter^ to Mr. 
Sancroft arrived, conveying the intelligence so 
conformable to his warmest desires, and so 
flattering to his most anxious hopes, of the 
favourable change which affairs had taken in 
England. The letter is written by Michael 
Honeywood, dated from the Hague, May 21, 

After apologizing for his delay in writing, he 
proceeds — " Now all these apologies over, I 
could not but write though it is a hard task to 
sit still so long together, being all half mad with 

College, Oxford : *' Wiiliam Sancrofit^ at Padua, entered a stu- 
dent, as appears by a testimonial signed by the Prorector and 
Syndic, 1 0th March, 1660.** Gutch's Miscell. Curiosa, Pref. 
p. xxix. 

* Leneve (see Lives of Protestant Archbishops) says, that 
on May 8, 1660, Mr. Sancroft was elected one of the University 
preachers at Cambridge. This I conceive to be a mistake. I 
have searched the University Registers, to which he refers for 
his authority, and I find no trace of such an appointment. The 
mistake may have arisen from observing that the name of Wil- 
liam Sancroft, the \mcle of the archbishop, appears in the list of 
preachers for 1618. 

t See Mr. Wharton's MS. account of Archbishop Sancroft. 
. X UarL MSS. 3784. 99. 


over-joy of a sudden happiness befallen us by 
the recalling of his Majesty by both houses of 
parliament and the city of London, which (I 
doubt not but you have it from London better,) 
was upon our May-day, when, upon his Ma- 
jesty's letters and declaration to them, brought 
by Sir John Greenville, all was done, absolutely, 
without treaty or propositions ; six lords, twelve 
commoners, four aldermen, with the recorder, 
and nine more of the city, daily expected here 
to fetch him — too long to write, and not to be 
expressed the joy universally conceived. So 
you see (according to his late Majesty's pro- 
phecy at the end of his excellent book) vota 
dederunt, quae bella negarunt; what worldly 
arms could not do, Christian arms, preces et 
lacrymae, have done ; God in his mercy hearing 
them, and making it his own work, without the 
help of man; Deo gloria solique. I hope now 
to be so happy as to see you and Mr. Gayer in 
England. God in heaven keep you both, and 
make us all thankful for this great blessing upon 
us and our miserable country." 

It will readily be believed that the travellers 
lost no time, after the receipt of this most wel- 
come intelligence, in effecting their return to 
England. The arrival of Mr. Sancroft seems to 
have been anxiously expected by his friends ; 
and situations of credit and emolument awaited 


his acceptance : amongst others,* a chaplaincy 
to a nobleman, with a handsome salary annexed, 
to which he was specially recommended as " a 
good scholar, a good preacher, and a pious 
man." But his merits and his claims were of a 
higher description, and the change which had 
taken place opened the prospect of his obtain- 
ing those remunerations which were justly due 
to him. He arrived in England, probably! in 
the month of September or October* 

* The following is an extract of a letter from the Bishop of 
Deny to a friend of Mr. Sancroft^s, conveying this offer ; dated 
Aug. 9, 1660. '' The only occasion of my writing at present 
is, my Lady of Ormond spake to me to procure her a chaplain 
for my Lord Steward^ to live in the house with them^ that was 
a good scholar, a good preacher, and a pious man. I know no 
man fitter for that employment than our friend Mr. Sancroft, 
and I do not know an emplo3nnent better deserving so good a 
man, either for present means or hopes. He shall have for his 
subsistence in present a donative without cure, of j£400 per ann. 
and his hopes (even certain hopes) are what he will. I wish he 
were coming over 3 but if not, I pray you by your first letter 
give him a call : it is worth two Scotch calls. And withal be 
pleased to remember my service to Gayer and him. I wonder 
why they come not over.*' 

f The letter just quoted from the Bishop of Deny, written 
Aug. 9, expresses anxiety for his return -, and another written 
to him in London, Nov. 20, (Harl. MSS. 3784. 202.) expresses 
ihe hope that he is '' in good health, after his long and hasty 
journey .'• Thus the precise time of his return may be variously 
conjectured between these two periods. 




He is appointed Chaplain to Bishop Cosin — Sermon on the ^rst 
Consecration of Bishops after the Restoration — Assists in the 
Revision of the Liturgf/ — Rapid Advancement in the Church — 
Made Prebendary of Durham — Dean of York — Master of 
Emanuelr—Dean of St. Paul's — Archdeacon of Canterbury — 
Takes an important part in forwarding the rebuilding of St, 
PauTs Cathedral — Measures for the advantage of the Church — 
Unexpected elevation to the Primacy — Letter of Congratulation 
from the University of Cambridge. 

Mr. Sancroft, on his return to England, found 
the church, together with the monarchical form 
of government, happily restored. One of the 
earlier acts of King Charles's government was 
to fill up the vacancies which had occurred in 
the higher situations of the church ; and Mr. 
Sancroft had the gratification of finding his 
venerable friend Dr. Cosin nominated, in recom- 
pense for his services, and for his sufferings, to 
the bishopric of Durham. This prelate lost no 
time in making the best return in his power for 
the favours he had received from Mr. Sancroft, 
and in paying, at the same time, a deserved 
tribute to his high character and talents, by 


making him his domestic chaplain. In this 
capacity, Mr. Sancroft was selected to preach 
a sermon in Westminster Abbey, on Nov. 18th, 
at the consecration of his patron and six other 
new bishops.* 

The sermon preached on this auspicious and 
remarkable occasion was published-f by the ex- 
press desire, as appears from the dedication, of 
Bishop Cosin. The dedication, drawn up in 
Latin, is distinguished for the concise neatness 
of the expression, and the judicious selection 
of topics of encomium on the prelate to whom 
it is addressed. The sermon must be read, like 
the greater part of the works of the divines of 
that period, with just allowances for the style 
of preaching then in vogue ; according to which 
it was usual to make a number of minute and 
technical divisions of the subject, to introduce 
a mass of quotations and illustrations from the 
Fathers and the classical writers, and to employ 
images and modes of expression which, accord- 
ing to modern ideas, are scarcely suited to the 
dignity of the subject. With these allowances 

* The seven bishops consecrated in Westminster Abbey at 
this early period after the Restoration^ were John Cosin^ Bishop 
of Durham) William Lucy, of St. David's; Benjamin Laney^ 
of Peterborough; Hugh Lloyd, of Llandaff; Richard Stem, of 
Carlisle; Brian Walton, of Chester; John Gauden, of Exeter. 

t See the Appendix. 


for defects, if such they be, which are charge- 
able not on the writer so much as on the taste 
of the times in which he wrote, the sermon 
must be considered as affording no unfavourable 
specimen of the talents of the author; of the 
extent and variety of his learning ; of his clear 
method of reasoning ; occasionally too, of his 
powers of eloquent description: His represen- 
tation of the church rising from her ruins under 
the image of the Phcenix rising from her funeral 
pile, has been particularly admired. 

One of the most important works, in which 
the more eminent divines of the church were 
.engaged soon after the Restoration, was the 
review and alteration of the Liturgy. 

King Charles, as is known from the public 
histories of the time, having imbibed favourable 
ideas of the Presbyterians from the part which 
some of their leaders had taken at the Restora- 
tion, granted a commission, bearing date March 
25th, 1661, for a certain number of the bishops, 
and an equal number of the Presbyterian di- 
vines, to meet and consult respecting the expe- 
diency of making such alterations in the Liturgy, 
as might obviate the objections of the Presby- 
terian party. At the conference which took 
place, well known under the name of the Savoy 
Conference, it was soon discovered that the 
divines of the latter party, so far from desiring 
only a few moderate alterations, would be sa- 


tisfied with nothing less than such an alteration 
of the whole a^ would make it an entirely new 
work ; and the commission expired without any 
thing being done. However, the episcopal di- 
vines, who met on this occasion, were satisfied 
in the result of the discussions, that some alter- 
ations in the book of Common Prayer were 
expedient, and they in consequence determined 
to bring the matter before the Convocation. 
The Convocation assembled on the 8th of May, 
1661, and, after due deliberation, made consi- 
derable additions and alterations.* 

* The following is the account of the alterations now made 
in the Liturgy, as given by Dr. Nichols. — See Preface to Com- 
mon Prayer, p. x. 

'' They began with the Office for the King*s Birth and Return, 
which was brought in the 16th of May, being their second 
session. On the 18th of May, their third session, they pro- 
ceeded to the Office of Baptism for those of riper years. By 
December 20, the book was completed, and subscribed to by 
the members of both Houses. 

*' The principal alterations which were made in this review, 
were these. Several lessons in the Calendar were changed for 
others more proper for the days. The prayei's upon particular 
occasions were disjoined from the Liturgy. The prayer for the 
Parliament, that for all Conditions of Men, and the General 
Thanksgiving, were added; several of the Collects were al- 
tered; the Epistles and Gospels were taken out of the last 
translation of the Bible, they having been read before according 
to the old. The Offices for the Baptism of those of Riper Years, 
the Forms of Prayer to be used at Sea, the Form for the Mar- 


It is well known that Mr. Sancroft was emi- 
nently useful* in assisting in these alterations^ 
although it is not easy to ascertain on what 
particular parts of the work, or to what extent, 
his services were employed. As he was not a 
member of Convocation at the time, for he then 
held no preferments, his name does not appear 
among thosef to whom the preparation of any 

tyrdom of King Charles, and that for the King*s Birth and 
Return, or, as it is now called, the Restoration of the Royal 
Family, were added. The book did not go to the press tiU 
some time after it was subscribed, the act of Uniformity for 
enacting it into a law taking up a considerable time. On the 
8th of March following, Mr. Sandcroft, Mr. Scattergood, and 
Mr. Dillingham were appointed by the bishops supervisors of 
the press, when the book should be printed, as appears by an 
order of the Upper House of Convocation, bearing date that 

* See Kennett's Ecclesiastical and Civil Register and Chro- 
nicle. — p. 632. Abo Life of Bishop Sanderson. — p. 43. 

t The following is an extract from one of the MSS. in the 
Lambeth library, (V. 577.) written with Archbishop Sancroft's 
hand, giving an account of the individuals employed in the 
alterations now made in the Liturgy, taken from the journals of 
the Lower House of Convocation. As those joumab no longer 
exist, perhaps this is the only record remaining of the persons 
who were employed in the work. 

Out of the Journal of the Lower House of Convocation." 

Fr. Mcndie, Actuary. 
1661, May 16. — Chosen to attend the bishops at Elic 
House the next morning at eight o'clock, concerning a form of 
prayer for May 29th, the prolocutor and eight more, scilicet. 




{>ortion of the work was committed ; and it 
seems that he was only privately employed^ 

the deans of Saiimi (th-. Baily), Chidiestfr (Di*. Henshaw), 
Peterborough (Dr. Raitibow), and Norwich (Dr. Crofts) ', the 
archdeacon of Surrey (Dr. Pearson)^ of Canterbury (Dr. George 
Hall), Dr. Creed and Dr. Marthi. 

'* May 1 8. — Chosen to attend the bishops for the review of 
the book for the 30th of January — the dean of Gloucester (Dr» 
Brough)^ of Lichfield (Dr. Paul) ; the archdeacon of St. Albans 
(Dr. Frank) ; Dr. Crowther 3 the dean of Christchurch, Oxford, 
(Dr. Fell) 3 Dr. Fleetwood 5 Dr. Pory archdeacon of Middlesex 5 
Dr. Gunning. 

** To attend the bishops at the SaVoy> on Monday next, at 
three o'clock, afternoon, to consult about the form of baptizing 
the adulti — the dean of Westminster (Dr. Earl), of Worcester 
(Dr. Oliver), archdeacon of Sudbury (Dr. Sparrow), archdeacon 
of Wilts (Dr. Creed), Di*. Heywood, Dr. Gunning. 

'' May 22. — Precibus peractis, ordered that each keep his 
place, that but one speak at once, and that without interruption 5 
none to use long speeches 5 to have a constant verger. 

*' May 24. — A prayer or collect to be made for the parliament 
sitting, and one for the synod j referred to Dr. Pory and the 
archbishop's other chaplains to draw up, and present the same 
to this house the next session. 

*' May 3 1 . — Dr. Pory introduxit formam precationum pro 
parliamento et synodo. The approbation of them referred to 
the dean of Wells (Dr. Creighton), Dr. Creed, Dr. Pearson, 
Dr. Crawther, and the archbishop's two chaplains. 

'' June 7. — A form of prayer, (juxta edictum Regium) with 
humiliation for the immoderate rain, and thanksgiving for the 
change thereof by fair weather, referred to eight of this house 
(who are to attend four bishops at Elie-house this afternoon), 
scilicet, the dean of Winton (Br. Alexander Hyde), the dean 

VOL. I. I 


probably by the recommendation of Bishop 
Cosin, who bore a considerable share in this 
business, and in consequence of the confidence 
reposed in his talents, learning, and judgment. 

However it is specially recorded that he 
assisted in rectifying the calendar and the 
rubrics,* and that, after the work was com- 
pleted, he was one of those appointed by an 
order of the Upper House of Convocation for 
the supervision of the press. - In the common 
accounts of his life, it is stated that he was 

of Saram (Dr. Bailie)^ the Dean of Wells (Dr. Creigfaton), 
Dr. Priaulx, Dr. Gulston, Dr. Preston, Dr. Rawley.' 

Doubts have been entertained respecting the persons who 
framed the prayer for the parliament, as it now stands in our 
liturgy -J but these doubts are cleared up by the above cited 
extracts from the Convocation books, which show that the 
prayer was prepared and introduced for the approbation of the 
Convocation by " Dr. Pory, (then Archdeacon of Middlesex,) 
and the archbishop's other chaplains.'* The fact, however, is, 
that the prayer, though now for the first time introduced into 
the liturgy, was not entirely new. A prayer for the pailiament^, 
with the same beginning and ending, and particularly contain- 
ing the expression, ** our religious and gracious king,** was in- 
serted in a form of prayers put forth in the time and under the 
authority of Charles I. on the first breaking out of the troubles 
in 1628 j and from this the prayer, which now forms part of 
the liturgy, was partly formed. 

* See Kennett*s Register, p. 574, 632.— The person princi- 
pally employed in rectifying the calendar was Mr. Pell, a person 
of much various erudition^ and a most acute mathematician, 
afterwards chaplain to Archbishop Sheldon. — SeeKennett^ ibid. 


the author of the Forms of Prayer prepared for 
the 30th of January and 29th of May. But 
this does not appear from any competent au- 
thority. Bishop Burnet gives a remarkable 
account of this matter : he states,* that when 
the new offices for the 30th of January and the 
29th of May were under preparation, Bancroft 
drew them up in too high a strain ; that those 
which he produced were in consequence re- 
jected, and others of a more moderate character 
adopted in their room. He adds, that, after- 
wards, when Bancroft was advanced to the see 
of Canterbury, he procured the substitution of 
his own offices in the place of those formerly 
adopted, and got them " published by the 
king's authority, at a time when so high a style 
as was in them did not sound well to the 

As Burnet himself had no concern in the 
transaction, and does not state the authority 
from which he derived his information, it is 
impossible to ascertain in what degree there is 
any foundation for his representation. Two 
circumstances, however, should be mentioned 
to show that his statements sure not strictly ac- 
curate. The first is, that, in the office for the 

* See Burnet's Own Times^ in 1661. 



;j(^ olf January, no alteration of the slightest 
uttuortance was made when Sancroft held the 
(H:uuacy> or has been made at any period sub- 
$^uently to the first preparation of it : for it 
^ikands now, with very immaterial exceptions, 
precisely in the same form as it did at first. 
The second is, that the office for the 29th of 
May, as it was adopted with alterations after 
the death of Charles II. and during the primacy 
of Archbishop Sancroft, could not have been 
precisely that which he first proposed but 
which was rejected. For the 29th day of May 
being the day of King Charles's birth, as well 
as of his return, the office during his life-time 
was adapted to both these events. After his 
death, alterations were necessarily required, in 
order to make the office commemorative solely 
of the restoration of the royal family. It is 
true that some further alterations and substitu- 
tions took place at this time; and perhaps it 
may be allowed that mention is made in the 
new office of the rebellion, and those concerned 
in it, in stronger terms than had been done 
in the former office, and this is probably the 
foundation of Burnet's assertion, that an office 
was adopted ** of a higher strain." These al- 
terations were of course made under Arch- 
bishop Sancroft's authority, although the fact 


of their having been introduced by himself, 
rests only on the statement of Bishop Bur- 

At an early period after the Restoration, Mr. 
Bancroft was distinguished by marks of royal 
favour. We find him holding the situation of 
one of the king's chaplains, to which he was 
probably appointed some time in 1661 ; and we 
trace him in residence at Whitehall performing 

* In one of the prayers^ in the present office for the Restora- 
tion of the Royal Family^ is the following expression^ which has 
been objected to from the studied alliteration : " Such workers 
of iniquity as turn religion into rebellion^ and faith into faction/* 
This expression^ however^ was not new^ when first inserted in 
the Liturgy in Archbishop Sancroft*8 time^ but was adopted 
from a work^ called the Rebels* Catechism^ published in 1643. 
The passage from which it is taken is as follows : '' \7. Quest. 
Is It not lawful to bear arms against sovereign princes for the 
preserration of religion ? Answ. Yes, for those men who place 
reHgion in rebellion, and whose faith is faction** — See the Rebels' 
Catechism, composed in an easy and familiar way, to let them 
see the beinousness of their offence, &c. 4to. p. 12. This 
Catechism is understood to hare been composed by some of 
Chaiie8*s more eminent divines, among others, by Drs. Ham- 
mond and Gauden. Notwithstandhig the opinion of Bishop 
Burnet, others have judged that the offices for January 30 and 
May 29, were improved under Archbishop Sancroft. " The 
forms for the 30th of January and 29th of May were altered 
much for the better by Archbishop Sancroft, and some others, 
in James the Second's reign.'* — See Case of a Rector refusing 
(o preach a Visitation Sermon, &c. by John Johnson, Vicar of 
Cninbrook. London. 1721. 



the duties of it in 1663.* He probably re- 
tained the situation till higher preferments 
called upon him to resign it. In 1662 he was 
recommended by royal mandate to the degree 
of doctor in divinity at Cambridge; the man^- 
datet expressly reciting his loyalty and good 
affection during the late unhappy commotions, 
and adding that, on account of his intending 
shortly to remove into remoter parts, he could 
not, without great inconvenience, attend the 
usual forms. 

* Two letters^ preserved in the Harleian Collection (MSS. 
3784. 18, 164), are addressed to him in attendance on his 
Majesty at his Majesty*s Closet at Whitehall, bearing date 
in January, 1663. 

f The following is part of the King*s letter on this occasion: 
*' Whereas William Sancroft, B.D. and one of our chaplains in 
ordinary, was, during the late unhappy and unnatural commo- 
tions, for his loyalty and good affection expressed all along unto 
us and our interests, ejected out of his fellowship of Emanuel 
college in that our University, the local statutes of which col- 
lege had otherwise obliged him long since to have taken the 
degree of D. D. 3 and whereas, besides the month of his ordi- 
nary attendance on our person, he hath, both before and after 
the same, been employed in our especial service, which he hath 
discharged to our satisfaction, and is now upon his necessary 
occasions to remove into the remoter parts of this our kingdom, 
80 that he neither could, nor yet can, without great incon- 
venience, attend the usual forms and method of academical 
promotions: We do therefore reconmiend, &c.*' — It bears date 
March 15, 1661-2. See Kennett*s Ecclesiastical Register^ 
p. 647. 


It was his friend and patron, the Bishop of 
Durham, who tempted him to a residence in a 
remote part of the kingdom, by collating him 
to some valuable preferments in that diocese, 
viz. the rectory of Houghton le Spring, and a 
canonry in the cathedral church. He was in- 
stituted to the former, December 7, 1661; and 
installed in the latter, March 11, 1661-2.* 

Houghton seems to have been on all accounts 
a most desirable benefice. Writing to his bro- 
ther,-}- Mr. Sancroft speaks of it as ** one of the 
best livings in that country, in the pleasantest 
and healthfulest part of the diocese." He adds, 
** the revenue is competent and fair ; and there 
is nothing to be wished amended, but that it 
stands so far from the sun and my dearest 

Many of Bishop Cosin's letters, written to 
him about this period, happen to be preserved. 
The following extract^ gives an interesting ac- 
count of his first reception in his diocese : 

" Durham, August 22, 1661. 

" I received yours of August 13, immedi- 
ately after my solemn reception into the church, 
and singing the Te Deum there, wherein there 
was nothing wanting but your assistance. The 

* See HutchiD8on*s History of Durham, 
t Tann. MSS. 49. 181. 
} Harl. MSS. 3783. 187. 



confluence and alacrity both of the gentry, 
clergy, and other people, was very great ; and, 
at my first entrance through the river of Tease, 
there was scarce any water to be seen for the 
multitude of boats and men that filled it, when 
the sword that killed the dragon was delivered 
to me with all the formality of trumpets and 
gunshots and acclamations that might be made. 
I am not much alTected with such shows ; but, 
however, the cheerfulness of the country in the 
reception of their bishop is a good earnest 
given for better matters, which, by the grace 
and blessing of God, may in good time follow 
here among us all." 

The two following letters allude to an im- 
portant part of Dr, Sancroft's private history, 
his attachment to a certain " gentlewoman," 
whose name is not mentioned, and with whom 
it may be inferred, from the terms of the let- 
ters, he appears to have entertained for a time 
some serious thoughts of engaging in a matri- 
monial contract. Nothing further is known 
respecting this affair ; only the fact is certain, 
that, notwithstanding the strong recommenda- 
tions of his patron, he maintained to the last 
the resolution which, it appears, he had then 
taken, of continuing to live in a state of ce- 


'' Durham^ August 23> 1661. 

" Sir,* 

" Your letter of August 20, came to 
me after the other of mine was gone to the post. 
I have but little time to add and say more, 
than that I shall be glad to welcome you into 
my diocese with a canonry of Durham and the 
rectory of Houghton, which, if Dr, Warwick 
and Mr, Triplet leave them, will be only in my 
donation. You may assure yourself and my 
Lord of London, that I will bestow the pre- 
bendary and the parsonage upon you, presup- 
posing that you will continue my household 
chaplain at Aukland till you have made the 
prebendal house at Durham (which is much 
ruinated) fit for your better reception. I pray 
tell the gentlewoman, whom you name in the 
end of your letter, that I take her message and 
acknowledgment sent to me very kindly from 
her ; of whom I have a very good opinion ; and, 
if you have so too, I think you cannot choose a 
better companion and housekeeper, both at 
Houghton and Durham, than so virtuous a 
person, as she is, is like to make, if you would 
take his judgment, who is 

*^ Your aflFectionate friend, &c. 

" John Dunelme." 

* Harl. MSS. 3783. 188. 


" Durham, September 3, 1661 * 

** That virtuous person^ whom we have now 
twice mentioned, I think will make a good 
companion for you and your sister both. The 
great care and affection you have for her, and 
the just regard that she hath again of you, 
may in good time prevail with you to alter your 
resolution, which you formerly had, to live 
single; but do as you think fit to do, and as 
God shall incline your mind. In the mean- 
while, I take not the difficulties which you 
mention to be invincible either on her part or 
much considerable on the part of them on 
whom you say she depends ; and truly there 
cannot be a greater act of charity done for her, 
than to take her out of the danger, wherein she 
lives, and prevent her falling into the fire. But 
I am not to press you further than your own 
inclination in a matter of this nature. I am 
glad you will be with me about Michaelmas, 
and then we may discourse more of it if you 

His residence in the county of Durham did 
not continue for more than a few months : yet, 
during that period, he gave proof of his dili- 
gence and of his inquiring turn of mind, in 
making considerable researches and collections 
respecting the antiquities of the county. Of 

* Harleian MSS. 3783. 189. 


the notes which he left relative to this subject, 
use has been subsequently made in framing a 
history of Durham.* 

But he was soon after summoned back to 
the bosom of that Alma Mater from which he 
had been violently expelled about eleven years 
before. A vacancy having occurred in the 
mastership of his own college, Emanuel, he 
was elected by the fellows, on the 14th of Au- 
gust, 1662, to fill that situation. This appoint- 
ment must have been owing entirely to the 
high estimation in which his character was 
held ; for, as he states himself, ** it was quite 
unexpected, and he knew nobody in the col- 
lege, his acquaintance being quite worn out." 
His friends indeed seem to have looked for- 
ward with hope to such an event some time 
before: a letter is extant, addressed to him 
from Thomas Smith at Christ's college, dated 
November 2, 1660, in which he gives this re- 
markable account of the state of the college, 
showing that the puritanical party were very 
powerful there: " In your college half the 
society are for the liturgy and half against it, 
so it is read one week, and the directory used 
another; but till the directory be laid aside, I 
believe no surplic^ will be worn ;" and then 

* See HutchinfOD*s Hislory of Durhim, voL ii. p. 206. 


adds, " I wish to be so happy as to see you 
head of it/'* 

The higher preferments which awaited him, 
and which flowed upon him in rapid succession, 
did not permit him to retain the mastership of 
the college longer than three years. No cir- 
cumstances of note are recorded during the 
time that he filled this situation ; only it is 
stated generallyt that he governed the house 
with much prudence and afiability. There 
happens, however, to be preserved a letterj; 

* The following letter addressed to him from the Bishop of 
LoDdon^ implies, that there existed some obstacles to his enter- 
ing on the mastership of Emanuel j but of what nature they 
were is wholly unknown : 

'^ To THE Rev. and my worthy Friend, Dr. Sancroft, 
Prebendary of the Church of Durham. 

" Durham, Sept. 20, 1662. 
*' Sir, 

*' I am sorry there are such bars against your entering 

into Emanuel college ; we must remove them for you the best 

way we can, and you ought not to decline this opportunity of 

doing that college and university service. I will set about it 

as soon as I can, and you shall receive an account of what is 

done from your affectionate friend, 

" Will. London." 

f Leneve*s Lives of the Bishops. 

^ See Cole's MSS. in the British Museum. 59. p. 275. 
Mr. Cole makes the following note. " The following letters 
and papers were lent to me by my esteemed friend. Dr. Farmer, 
Master of flmanuel odlege, and Chancellor of Lichfield, 1781. 


which he wrote while master of the college to 
his former tutor, Mr. Ezekiel Wright, which is 
curious and valuable, as exhibiting his feelings 
respecting the existing state of that college and 
the university, and showing the strong interest 
he took in the promotion of learning and of 
sound principles of religion. 

'' Emanuel College^ January 17, 1663. 

" Rev. Sir, my ever Honoured Tutor, 

" I beg your pardon that your very 
friendly and obliging letter hath lain so long in 
my hands unanswered. I was, when you wrote 
it, in Suffolk (where I had been but once these 
last seven years, and that above two years 
since), and found it about a week after at Cam- 
bridge, as I passed by towards London, whither 
m^ny occasions called me. In the mean time 
I have read it oft with great contentment, and 
after all this long demur find it difficult to ex- 
press, how much I value both the affection 
and the wisdom of it. In earnest. Sir, I never 
pleased, myself more in the relation I once had 

The first is an original letter of Archbishop Sancroft, to Mr. 
Ezekiel Wright, father to Sir Nathaniel Wright, Lord Keeper 
of the Seals. It is in the Archbishop's small black writing, and 
had a seal of red wax, which is torn off. Directed " For the 
Rer. my honoured friend, Mr. Ezekiel Wright, B. D. and rector 
of Thnrcaston^ in Leicestershire/* 


to you, nor had ever more need to be your 
pupil than now. Beyond all my expectation I 
am come back to the college, where I knew 
nobody at all, my acquaintance being wholly 
worn out ; or rather, I am come into a new col- 
lege, quite another thing from what I, and 
much more what you, left it. Tis true, in 
some regards the change is such that I cannot 
but thank God for it : there being neither fac- 
tion amongst us, nor disaflFection to the govern- 
ment of church or state, but a general outward 
conformity to what is established by law, and, 
I hope, true principles of duty and obedience 
deep laid within, and a chearful readiness to 
take off all the instances of that former singu- 
larity which rendered us heretofore so unhap- 
pily remarkable.* 

" Tis with regret and reluctancy that I turn 
my eye upon our defects and our infelicities ; 
and I had rather make them the matter of a 
free conference, than bring them upon paper ; 
yet into your bosom. Sir, I shall, I hope, have 
leave to pour them, and assure myself that, as 
few will apprehend them as well as you, none 
is able to advise more apt and proper remedies. 

'' I complain not that the throng is not so 

* Emanuel college seems to have been long noted for the 
puritanical principles which had prevailed there. See Dr. 
Salter s Preface to Whichcote's Aphorisms. 




great about us as it was (especially reflecting 
what it was that drew the many hither). — 
Blessed is the barren and the miscarrying 
womb, rather than she that is always teeming 
and drawing forth her breasts to the children 
of disobedience. May we be desert and wil- 
derness all over, rather than send forth such 
unhappy swarms and colonies as we did in this 
age of sorrow ; which were so many and so nu- 
merous that the stock is decayed at home, and 
we have none in the college capable of succeed- 
ing to our vacant fellowships. By the end of 
this week I shall have elected, since I returned 
hither, seven fellows^ but most of them from 
abroad ; so that half the society are foreigners ; 
and yet worse ; the eminent elsewhere will not 
be wooed to look towards us, having fairer in- 
vitations at home : they come sooner by two 
years (in standing, and many years in age) to 
their fellowships, than we; and without that 
rigid examen, which frights some from us: 
they keep them longer (being perpetuities) than 
we ours, which are thought to be but for a 
term; and which is most considerable, ours, 
while they have them, are not so well worth 
the owning ; the statutable allowance being so 
miserably scant, that if the crowd fail us, (as 
now it doth,) you know very well. Sir, they 
afford not a competent subsistence : so that we 


are glad to accept of such as tender themselves ; 
and forced to serve ourselves of his Majesty's 
grace and favour, for the removing of some 
lesser incapacities (of age and country) in a 
person otherwise fitly qualified for the main ; 
and glad to be so eased, where our over rigor- 
ous statutes pinch us. And then for scholar- 
ships, they are so many, and so few to fill 
them, that there is never any competition ; the 
golden spur of emulation is lost, and few will 
study hard to obtain that to which a little pro- 
portion of learning will bring them. 

" It would grieve you to hear of our public 
examinations ; the Hebrew and Greek learning 
being out of fashion everywhere, and especi- 
ally in the other colleges, where we are forced 
to seek our candidates for fellowships ; and the 
rational learning they pretend to being neither 
the old philosophy, nor steadily any one of the 
new. In fine, though I must do the present so- 
ciety right, and say, that divers of them are very 
good scholars, and orthodox (I believe) and 
dutiful both to king and church ; yet methinks 
I find not that old genius and spirit of learning 
generally in the college that made it once so 
deservedly famous ; nor shall I hope to retrieve 
it any way sooner, than by your directions who 
lived here in the most flourishing times of it. 

'' For my part, after many sad thoughts spent 


in this argument, I am .come to a persuasion, 
(which I shall in confidence acquaint you with, 
it not being fit for every ear,) that 'tis impos- 
sible for this college ever to flourish again 
(unless by the old arts, and so I had rather see 
it sink to the ground), till the fellowships and 
scholarships be made competent and liberal 
allowances, either by increase of our revenue, 
or by sinking of some of our number into the 
rest; and(ut adhuc majora canamus) till the 
body of our statutes be changed, which, if it 
may not be done, I see not but we are remedi- 
less : yet these are the last refuges, and we will 
not be wanting to ourselves in attempting all 
other methods. 

" I am clearly convinced of what you wisely 
and solidly suggest concerning the pretended 
statute (for truly I cannot look upon it, as of 
the same authority with the rest) de mor^ so- 
ciorum. Something I had done in it before 
you wrote. The king's suspension of that sta- 
tute is, for aught I can learn, lost during these 
last times ; you will easily guess how ; but I 
have recovered both the first draught of it 
under my Lord of Ely's own hand, (whom the 
king appointed to pen it,) and a copy of it 
which I found amongst my uncle Dr. Bancroft's 
papers, and have preserved it ever since. If I 
cannot inquire out the original, I will, if I live, 

VOL. I. K 


get it to pass the seal once more ; to facilitate 
which, I desire, Sir, you would furnish me 
with your copy, if you have one, and with 
what mMioirs you have besides concerning that 
whole affair. 

" I am now in pursuit of Dr. Holdsworth's 
numerous library; and though the University 
has long since swallowed it in a general ex- 
pectation, yet, having lately got a sight of liis 
private directions to his executors, and con- 
sulted both lawyers and several of my lords the 
Bishops, and the executors themselves there- 
upon, I doubt not at all the right will prove to 
be ours: provided that we erect a case or room 
fit to receive them ; the condition upon which he 
gave them us. For the performance whereof, and 
also for the removing that great mark of singu- 
larity, which all the world so talks of, in the 
unusual prospect and dress of the chapel, (dif- 
ferent from that of other colleges), I have it in 
design to make both a new library and chapel 
too; and, as for the manner of contriving both, 
I would gladly receive your particular opinion; 
so I must be forced to beg the charitable and 
liberal assistance of all that have been members 
of it, and yours. Sir, especially, who wert once 
so great an ornament and now so true a lover 

of it. 

'^* I lam going very suddenly into the north 


when this election is past, and shall not return 
thence till Michaelmas; but, either going or 
coming, I will endeavour to wait on you at 
your own house : and judge by what I have 
written, how I shall importune and tire you 
with my discourse concerning Emanuel Col- 
lege. But, Sir, a goodness like your's, will 
pardon both, and incline you to continue the 
benefit of your prayers, as to the whole col- 
lege, so particularly to him, who will always 
rejoice to write himself, 

" Rev. Sir, 
** Your most observant Pupil, 
'* and very humble Servant, 

" W. Sancroft.'' 

The shortness of the period, during which 
Dr. Sancroft held the mastership of Emanuel 
College, precluded him from carrying into effect 
any advantageous plans of improvement. He 
prepared, however, the design of a new chapel, 
which was afterwards completed under his suc- 
cessors ; and he gave proof of his munificence, 
as well as of his goodwill to the college, by 
contributing nearly £600 for the erection.* 

On the 3d of January, 166|^,t he was nomi- 
nated by the king to the deanery of York; and 

* See Registers of the College. 

t AVbarton's MSS. from the Archbishop's notes. 



having been elected by the chapter on the 23d 
of that month, he was installed by proxy on the 
26th of the following February. He retained 
this situation only for. the short space of ten 
months, and appears to have found it no lucra- 
tive preferment ;* for it is stated that he ex- 
pended, in building and other charges, £200 
more than he received. He was enabled, how- 
ever, during the short period he held this pre- 
ferment, to t render considerable service to the 
cathedral church; for, having found the ac- 
counts in a state of confusion, he brought 
them into order, and made out a correct rental. 
Towards the close of the same year, 1664, 
the deanery of St. Paul's fell vacant by the 
death of Dr. Barwick, and the king showed his 
further favour to Dr. Sancroft by conferring on 
him that more lucrative preferment. He was 
elected to it on the 10th of November, and in- 
stalled on the 10th of the following month. 
About the same time he was appointed to the 

* G. Davenport^ in a letter addressed to him April 9, 1664, 
says — " You give a sad account of your deanery : I never 
thought it better; make much of Durham/* — In another, the 
same correspondent says, " You are about to pay the York first 
fruits } another man would let the deanery be sequestered for 
them. It was an unfortunate deanery for you.'* — Harl. MSS. 
3783. 137. 141. 

t Leneve*j Lives of the Bishops. 


prebend of Oxgate in the same cathedral, and 
elected a residentiary, having been installed in 
that situation the day preceding his installation 
in the deanery, 

A stronger proof can scarcely be afforded of 
the general estimation in which his character was 
held, than by the fact of so many preferments 
flowing upon him, in this short space of tiine, 
from so many various quarters. It appears 
that Sheldon, Archbishop of Canterbury, and 
Henchman, Bishop of London, were warmly 
interested in his success, and used their interest 
with the crowm in assisting his advancement.* 
Between the latter of these, and Dr. San- 

* The two following letters^ written by the Bishop of London 
to Dr. SancToft^ at the time of his promotion to the deanery 
of St. Paul's^ hi^pen to be preserved in the Harleian ColleC" 
tion. See v. 378. 107, 109. 

" October 22d. 
" This day the Dean of St. Paul's deceased; 
tomorrow I attend at Whitehall in hope to obtain that you may 
succeed. Do not think of relinquishing any thing but your 
deanery^ until you receive directions from my Lord of Canter- 
bury. God preserve you. 

" Your most affectionate Friend^ 

" HuMFB. London.** 

" London House, October 25th. 

" In my last I gave you notice, that the Dean 

of St. PauTs deceased on Saturday last ; now I tell you that his 



croft, considerable intimacy appears to have 

On the occasion of his appointment to the 
deanery of St. Paul's, we find him writing to 
his brother in the following terms.* 

" London, December 5, 1664. 

*' It is a very royal bounty of his 
Majesty (whose hands I kissed yesterday, and 
thanked him for this last favour) to bestow two 
such deaneries as York and St. Paul's upon me 
in the compass of a few months, which I will 
study to deserve by the best service I can do. 
I was almost settled at York, having furnished 
my house in great part, and spent £100 in the 
repairs of it, and might have justly hoped by 
Midsummer, with the expense of as much 
money more, to have made such a dwelling of 
it, as I am never like to be owner of again. I 
had also much encouragement from the good 
affections of the city, which here it will be 
much harder to gain, there being such diversity 

Majesty has most graciously appointed you to succeed him in 
this church. My Lord of Canterbury adviseth you to hasten 
hither as soon as your occasions will permit, and I desire the 


There exist in the Harleian Collection above forty letters 
from this Bishop of London to Dr. Sancroft. 
* Tann. MSS. 47. 377. 


of humours, and those so nice too, among, 
them. The revenue indeed is here something 
better, but the expense more and the burthen 
of business very great; I trust God will enable 
me to go through with it. I am a loser by the 
deanery of York, and it will be some time (if 
ever) ere I can be a gainer by this, here being 
a house to be bought and built and furnished, 
first fruits and subsidies, and new charges, I 
fear, coming. Only one comfort is, that now I 
shall sit down, and may justly be confident that 
my next remove will be to the grave." 

In addition to these London preferments, he 
appears to have retained for some time his 
prebendal stall at Durham.* He resigned the 
mastership of Emanuel College a few months 
after his appointment to the deanery of St. 
Paul's,! probably from finding that the various 

* This appears from a letter (Harl. MSS. 3783. 55.) dated 
January 11th, 166g, addressed to him as Dean of St. Paul's 
and Prebendary of Durham, at Durham. 

t Tlie following is part of a letter (Ilarl. MSS. 3783. 8.) 
written to Dr. Sancroft by Robert Alfoundcr, apparently a fel- 
low of Emanuel College, dated Trinity Evening, 1665. 

" Sir, 

" On Thursday last I came to Cambridge, where I met 
with your unexpected and (with your pardon) unwelcome re- 
signation : but there was not any interregnum, — for at the same 



duties which now devolved upon him pre- 
vented his devoting as much time and atten- 
tion as he desired to those of his academical 

If, in succeeding to the deanery of St. Paul's, 
Dr. Sancroft came to a well endowed preferment, 
he came to the superintendance of an edifice 
which had miserably fallen into decay. The very 
ancient cathedral church of the metropolis had 
long been extremely ruinous, and, during the 
barbarous transactions of the civil wars and the 
republican times, if it was not purposely da- 
maged>* yet nothing was done to preserve it 
from the injuries of weather; and, in conse- 
quence, it suffered that increase of dilapidation 

time we received and obeyed his Majesty's commands for a suc- 
cessor. Sir, we are all, I think, very well satisfied with the 
royal choice for us, and dare not expect any thing but good from 
it. This, I think, was the only way to preserve unity among 
us, and to satisfy ourselves and other our friends abroad. It is 
easier to obey than to chuse.** — 

Dr. Sancroft was succeeded in the mastership of Emanuel 
College by Dr. Breton. 

* The cathech'al church was undergoing repairs, when, in 
1643, the revenues belonging to the dean and chapter were 
seized by the parliament, together with the materials and money 
prepared for the repairs. It was afterwards used as a barrack 
and horse-quarter for soldiers -, and the scaffolding in the in- 
terior being taken away for their accommodation, part of the 
roof fell in at different times.— See Dugdale's History of St. 
Paul's, p. 146-7. 


which the mere neglect of proper repairs al- 
ways entails on ancient buildings. Accord- 
ingly, the new dean immediately set himself 
to husband the resources of the church with 
the most prudent economy, with a view to the 
substantial reparation or restoration of the 

But the heavy calamities which befel the 
metropolis very soon after the commencement 
of Dr. Bancroft's public duties as dean of the 
metropolitan church, first interrupted the prose- 
cution of his designs, and afterwards directed 
them in a new course. The great plague, as it 
is termed, broke out in London in May, 1665, 
about five months after he had taken possession 
of the deanery; and the danger of fatal infec- 
tion was so pressing, that all who had the 
means of removing into other parts, availed 
themselves of them with as little delay as pos- 
sible. Dr. Bancroft, as appears from the super- 
scription of letters addressed to him,* fixed his 
residence during the time of danger at Tun- 
bridge Wells.l In the year succeeding the 

* See several letters in Harleian MSS. 3783. 

t The foUowing is part of a letter directed to him at Tun- 
bridge Welb, from Peter Barwick, brother of the late dean, 
who appears to have been a medical man. The imputation of 
a want of charity towards his distressed neighbours^ to which it 
alludes, as having been cast by some persons on Dr.Sancroft, is 


plague,* the great fire of London broke out, 
which destroyed the greater part of the city. 
The ancient cathedral of St. Paul's shared the 
common fate; it was miserably damaged and 
shattered by the fire; and, although a part 

one which^ as the whole course of his life shows> must have 
been very undeserved. It is dated August 5th^ 1665. 

'' Mr. Dean, 

" Give me leave to discharge the part of a friend and 
to tell you what I hear^ though perhaps of no great moment. 
It will be no news to tell you (for you will surely imagine it) 
that the mouths of a slanderous generation are wide enough 
open against those that are withdrawn^ both of your profession 
and ours : but one of my neighbours told me, (who I think in- 
deed wishes well both to you and to your churchy) that it waswon- 
dered that you should go, and not leave any thing that they had 
beard of, behind you for your poor neighbours. I told him that, 
in what cases it was lawful to go, was not in the skill of every 
one to determine; but, as for your going to the Wells, you had 
resolved it, and by my advice, long before any plague was heard 
of ^ and as for your charity to the poor, I knew that you had 
given a considerable sum to a parish.*' — See Harleian MSS* 
3783. 19. 

* Evelyn says, in his Memoirs, (v. i. p. 371.) that on the 
27th of August, 1666, be went with Dr. Wren, the Bishop of 
London, the Dean of St. Paul's and others, to survey the ge- 
neral decay of the cathedral church j that, among other things, 
they determined, that it was necessary to take down the existing 
steeple, — and they had a mind to build in its place a noble 
cupola, '^ a form of church building not as yet known in Eng- 
land, but of wonderful grace," for which purpose they formed a 
plan and estimate. — On the 3d of September following, the fire 
broke out^ which levelled the whole with the ground. 


was left standing, yet the roof fell in with 
great force, and broke through the vaults 

This extensive calamity, following so soon 
upon the other, filled the whole nation with 
grief and consternation. It was felt as a sore 
judgment, specially sent by God to visit the 
sins of the people, and a day of public humi- 
liation was appointed, for the purpose of im- 
ploring his mercy, and averting, by national 
prostration, his further displeasure. Dr. San- 
croft, who was so immediately connected with 
the scenes of both these disasters, was, with 
peculiar propriety, appointed to preach before 
the king on the occasion. He performed this 
office with great ability, and to the satisfaction 
of the king, who commanded that the sermon 
should be printed.* 

From repairing an old and decayed church. 
Dr. Bancroft's attention and exertions were now 
to be directed to the more important design of 
erecting a new one ; and it seems to have been 
owing at least as much to him as to any single 
individual, that the plan was ultimately adopted 
of erecting a proud and noble structure worthy 
of that great metropolis, of which it has ever 
since been the most distinguished ornament, 

* See the Appendix. 


under an architect who did honour to the age 
and country in which he lived. 

At first, indeed, owing probably to the po- 
verty of the nation under the recent calamity, 
it was designed to fit up a part of the ruined 
church for divine service, as a temporary ex- 
pedient, till means could be found of either 
making a thorough reparation of the whole, or 
of erecting a new building.* This design was 
proceeded on for nearly two years. It was 
found, on inspection, that the part of the church 
near the west end could with least expense be 
made serviceable for the intended purpose. 
Accordingly, workmen were employed in clear- 
ing away the rubbish, taking down the re- 
mainder of the vaulted roof and walls, digging 
up the floors, and in other works of this descrip- 
tion : they afterwards began to case the great 
and massy pillars which stood between the 
middle and side aisles ; but they had not pro- 
ceeded far before they found that these pillars, 
together with the walls that remained, were so 
weak and unsound, in consequence of the fire, 
as to be utterly incapable of any substantial 
repair. The following letter from the Dean 
to Dr. afterwards Sir Christopher Wren, gives 
an account of the unsuccessful result of this 
first attempt. 

* See Wren*8 Parentalia. 


To my worthy Friend, Dr. Christopher Wren, 
Professor of Astronomy in Oxford. 

"Apra25, 1668. 

" Sir, 

" As he said of old, Prudentia est qua- 
dam divinatio, so science (at the height you are 
master of it) is prophetic too. What you 
whispered in my ear at your last coming hither, 
is now come to pass. Our work at the west 
end of St. Paul's is fallen about our ears. 
Your quick eye discerned the walls and pillars, 
gone oflF from their perpendiculars, and I be- 
lieve other defects too, which are now exposed 
to every common observer. 

" About a week since, we being at work 
about the third pillar from the west end on the 
south side, which we had new cased with 
stone, where it was most defective almost up 
to the chapitre, a great weight falling from the 
high wall, so disabled the vaulting of the side- 
aisle by it, that it threatened a sudden ruin, so 
visibly, that the workmen presently removed, 
and the next night the whole pillar fell, and 
carried scaffolds and all to the very ground. 

" The second pillar (which you know is 
bigger than the rest) stands now alone, with an 
enormous weight on the top of it; which we 
cannot hope should stand long, and yet we dare 
not venture to take it down. 


" This breach has discovered to all that look 
on it, two great defects in Inigo Jones's work ; 
one, that his new case of stone in the upper 
walls (massy as it is) was not set upon the 
upright of the pillars, but upon the core of the 
groins of the vaulting; the other, that there 
were no key-stones at all to tie it to the old 
work; and, all this being very heavy with the 
Roman ornaments on the top of it, and being 
already so far gone outwards, cannot possibly 
stand long. In fine, it is the opinion of all 
men, that we can proceed no farther at the west 
end. What we are to do next, is the present 
deliberation, in which you are so absolutely 
and indispensably necessary to us, that we 
can do nothing, resolve on nothing, without 

" It is, therefore, that, in my Lord of Canter- 
bury's name, and by his order, (already, I sup- 
pose, intimated to you by the Dean of Christ- 
Church,) we most earnestly desire your pre- 
sence and assistance with all possible speed. 

" You will think fit, I know, to bring with 
you those excellent draughts and designs you 
formerly favoured us with; and, in the mean 
time, till we enjoy you here, consider what to 
advise that may be for the satisfaction of his 
Majesty and the whole nation, an obligation 


SO great and so public, that it must be acknow- 
ledged by better hands than those of 

" Your affectionate Friend 
and Servant, 
" W. Sancroft." 

' The design of repairing the old structure was 
now necessarily abandoned; and the attention 
of those concerned was exclusively directed 
to the best method of preparing an entirely 
new erection, on a scale of suitable grandeur. 
The following letter of Dr. Sancroft, addressed 
to Dr. Wren and containing a further invitation 
to him to meet the dignitaries of the church 
for the purpose of consulting on the subject, 
conveys their very judicious determination to 
fix at once on a design of such magnificence as 
became the metropolis of the British empire, 
in the confidence that funds would sooner or 
later be obtained for carrying it into effect, 
rather than to consider, in the first instance, 
what money they could afford, and to proportion 
to it the scale on which they should proceed. 

To Dr. Wren, at Oxford. 

Dated London^ July 2d> 1668. 

• " Sir, 

" Yesterday, my Lords of Canterbury, 
London, and Oxford met on purpose to hear 


your letter read once more, and to consider 
what is now to be done, in order to the repairs 
of St. Paul's. They unanimously resolved that 
it is fit immediately to attempt something, and 
that without you they can do nothing. 

" I am therefore commanded to give you an 
invitation hither in his Grace's name, and the 
rest of the commissioners, with all speed, that 
we may prepare something to be proposed to 
his Majesty, (the design of such a choir at 
least as may be a congruous part of a greater 
and more magnificent work to follow,) and then 
for the procuring contributions to defray this 
we are so sanguine as not to doubt of it, if we 
could but once resolve what we would do, 
and what that would cost. So that the only 
part of your letter we demur to, is the method 
you propound of declaring first what money 
we would bestow, and then designing some- 
thing just of that expense : for quite otherwise — 
the way their lordships resolve upon, is to 
frame a design handsome and noble, and suit- 
able to all the ends of it, and to the reputation 
of the city and the nation ; and to take it for 
granted that money will be had to accomplish 
it; or, however, to let it lie by, till we have be- 
fore us a prospect of so much as may reasonably 
encourage us to begin. 

" Thus far I thought good to prepare you for 


what will be said to you when you come, that 
you may not be surprised with it ; and, if my 
summons prevail not, my lord the Bishop of 
Oxford hath undertaken to give it you warmer, 
ore tenus, the next week, when he intends to 
be with you, if at least you be not come to- 
wards us before he arrives; which would be a 
very agreeable surprise to us all, and espe- 
cially to 

'' Your very affectionate, 
** humble Servant, 

'* W. Sancroft." 

The result of the consultations on the sub- 
ject was the determination to accept Sir Chris- 
topher Wren's noble design of building the 
church on the present scale of magnificence. 
The funds for the purpose were provided partly 
by private subscription, and partly by an act 
of parliament, called the Coal Act, which pre- 
scribed that a certain sum for the purpose 
should be levied on every chaldron of coals 
brought to the port of London. In the private 
subscription Dr. Sancroft bore a distinguished 
part, for he subscribed no less than £1400* 
in addition to the part which he bore in the 

* He appears to hare subscribed <£100 annually after be was 
Archbbhop of Canterbury, in addition to bis contributions when 
be was Dean of St. Paul's.— See Dugdale's History of St. Pauls. 
VOL. I. L 


liberal contributions from the general funds be- 
longing to the dean and chapter. And it is 
related that it was principally owing to his exer- 
tions and management that the Coal Act was 
carried through the legislature. 

The first stone of the new cathedral was laid 
in 1675,* under the superintendance of Dr. 
Sancroft as dean. He was not permitted, it is 
true, to enjoy the singular good fortune in 
which both the architect. Sir Christopher Wren, 
and Dr. Compton, bishop of the diocese, par- 
took; that of witnessing the progress of the 
structure from its commencement to its final 
completion in 1710. But still, he had the gra- 
tification of seeing it rise to a considerable 
stage of ad vancement ; for it is related^ that, so 
early as the year 1685, ten years after its com- 
mencement, the edifice was in very forward 
state; the walls of the choir and side aisles 
were at that time finished, together with the 
circular north and south porticos; and the 
great pillars of the dome were carried to the 
same height. 

But the Dean's attention and exertions were 
not confined to the Cathedral church. The 
deanery-house had suffered by the wide-spread- 
ing calamity, and he had to consider the means 

* Wren's Parentalia, p. 292. + Ibid. 


of rebuilding it without burthening himself per- 
sonally with too heavy a charge. With this 
view,* he procured an act of parliament, which 
enabled him, with the consent of the Lord 
Keeper and the Bishop of London, to lease out 
a portion of the ground connected with the site, 
on which shops and other tenements had for- 
merly stood, for the term of sixty years, on the 
condition that, before September 30, 1673, he 
should lay out the sum of £2500 in building a 
commodious deanery-house and premises, him* 
self and his heirs being thereby discharged from 
dilapidations. In pursuance of this act he en- 
tered into a bond to build at the above-men- 
tioned cost ; and he was released from the bond, 
as having completed the work, Dec. 20, 1670. 

In the year 1668, he was appointed to another 
ecclesiastical dignity, the Archdeaconry of Can- 
terbury, on the presentation of the crown ; but 
he retained it only two years. He was pro- 
bably induced to resign it, by finding that he 
was precluded, by the other demands on his 
time, from properly attending to its duties. 

While Dr. Sancroft occupied the deanery of 
St. Paul's, in addition to the diligent attention 
which he paid to his immediate duties, he 
embraced every opportunity of effecting what 

* See the Register of the Dean of St. Paulas. 



was conducive to the interests of the church and 
of religion in general. In one instance, he had 
an opportunity, about this period, of evincing 
his desire of augmenting the revenues of the 
poorer benefices; an object, which he kept 
steadily in his view in his subsequent elevation 
to the primacy; and which he was then enabled 
to prosecute with greater effect. The instance 
alluded to is the vicarage of Sandon, in Hert- 
fordshire, of which he was the patron, the im- 
propriate tithes forming part of the revenues of 
his deanery. For the purpose of augmenting 
this vicarage, he purchased a fee farm rent issu- 
ing out of the church of Lichfield, and settled 
it on the vicar ; he further granted out of the 
impropriate tithes a rent charge of £20 per ann. 
in augmentation of the vicarage for ever.* 

Another object, beneficial to the church, 
which he effected while Dean of St. Paul's, 
was the erection of the hamlet of St. Paul's 
Shadwell into a separate rectory. The pro- 
perty of this parish was vested in him as dean ; 
it formed part of the parish of Stepney ; but, 
of late, the population, both in this hamlet and 
in the other parts of the parish of Stepney, had 
increased to such an extent, that the parish 
church was totally insuflScient for the inhabi- 

* See Chauncey's History of Hertfordshire, &c * 


tants. In consequence, principally through the 
interest and exertions of the Dean, an act of 
parliament was procured in the year 1670, 
which made it a separate parish ; the fabric of 
a church which had been built some time before 
was made the parish church, and an endowment 
was appointed for the minister. The Dean gave 
up a piece of his estate for the church-yard, 
the rectorial house, and other tenements, which 
were built by him or his lessee.* 

It does not appear that Dr. Bancroft was en- 
gaged in any literary work, during his occupa- 
tion of the deanery of St. Paul's, except, indeed, 
one on which he was employed by Archbishop 
Sheldon, but in which very little progress was 
made at the time. Archbishop Sheldon had 
procuredf from the possession of Prynne the 
papers of Archbishop Laud, and particularly a 
copy of his Diary, which had been seized as part 
of the plunder from his house at the time of his 
imprisonment, and was afterwards lost sight of. 
Thinking that they were of a sufficiently in- 
teresting nature to engage the attention of the 
public, he consigned them to Dr. Sancroft, ex- 
pressing the wish that he would undertake the 
care of publishing them with all convenient 

• * Newcourt*8 History of the Diocese of London, v. i. 708. 
•t See Wharton's Preface to Archbishop Laud*8 Diary. 



Speed. Dr. Sancroft, on examination of the 
copy of the Diary, found it so extremely vicious 
that he deemed it unfit for publication, and 
thought it advisable to wait till the original 
might be found. After some considerable 
search it was discovered lurking in St. John's 
College at Oxford. A further protraction of 
the publics^tion took place from a difference of 
opinion respecting the language in which the 
Diary should be published. Laud had expressed 
a wish that it should be published in Latin ; and 
Archbishop Sheldon's opinion was, that this 
wish should be complied with ; but the Dean 
thought that the Diary wotdd be more useful if 
published in English: however, he properly 
yielded to the authority of the metropolitan, 
and a civilian was procured to translate the law 
terms into Latin. In this stage of the business. 
Archbishop Sheldon died; and Dr. Sancroft, 
succeeding to his high situation, became so in- 
volved in public business as to have no leisure 
to proceed in the undertaking. It will after- 
wards appear that he did not resume the work 
till some time after his retirement from the 
archbishopric ; that the illness which terminated 
his life surprised him in the midst of it ; and 
that, pn his death-bed, he consigned the papers 
to the care of his chaplain, Mr. Wharton, who, 
soon afterwards, prepared them for the press. 


It was towards the close of the year 1677, on 
the decease of Archbishop Sheldon, that Dr. 
Sancroft was, very unexpectedly to himself and 
to the public, raised to the archiepiscopal chair 
of Canterbury. He was holding, at the time 
of his elevation, the situation of prolocutor of 
the Lower House of Convocation. 

It is the most probable supposition that he 
did not owe his exaltation in any great degree, 
if at all, to private favour or recommendations, 
but principally, or entirely to his character, 
which pointed him out as the person best qua- 
lified to adorn the station, and to support its 
dignity. It is stated, and probably with truth, 
in a narrative of his life,* that his zeal, candour 
and learning, his exemplary behaviour in a 
lower state, his public spirit in so many scenes 
of life, his constancy in suffering, his unbiassed 
deportment, all concurred to recommend him 
as a fit governor of the church in that turbulent 

Bishop Burnet, who catches most eagerly 
at every opportunity of lowering the character 
of Sancroft, insinuates that he was elevated to 
the primacy, not on account of his fitness for 

* See Lives of English Bishops^ by Nathanael Salmon. — 
p. 60, 



the station, but of his want of proper qualifica- 
tions for it. His words are,* that several things 
^' made the court conclude that he was a man 
who might be entirely gained to serve their 
ends ; or, at least, that he would be an inactive 
speculative man, and give little opposition to 
any thing they might attempt." His meaning 
manifestly is, that those who promoted his ele- 
vation, intended, by so doing, to place, for their 
own sinister purposes, a feeble person at the 
helm of the church. 

Anthony Wood| affirms distinctly, but with- 
out alleging any authority, that Dr. Bancroft's 
pretensions were favoured by the Duke of 
York, and the popish party; and assigns as 
the motive of their conduct, the desire of ex- 
cluding Compton, Bishop of London, who was 
much spoken of for the situation, and who was 
very obnoxious to them. In matters of this 
nature it is seldom possible to attain to a cor- 
rect knowledge of the truth : for it rarely hap- 
pens that recommendations which are made in 

* See Buraet's Own Times, v. i. 392. 

f See Life of A. Wood, written by himselfr Dr. Kennett, it 
should be mentioned, also states that the appointment was made 
by the recommendation of the Duke of Yo|*k. — 3ee K^nett's 
History, v. iii. 361. 


the interior of a royal closet, are disclosed 
truly to the public. If, however, it be a fact that 
the Duke of York was instrumental in promot- 
ing Dr. Sancroft's elevation, it is far more pro- 
bable that he did so, from a preference of him 
to Bishop Compton, than from so grossly mis- 
apprehending his character as to suppose that 
he would make a weak and inefficient head of 
the church. Certain it is, that if the Duke of 
York, or persons of any party, did recommend 
him to the primacy under the idea that the in- 
terests of the church, in being confided to him, 
were committed to feeble hands, the event 
showed that they completely erred both in the 
estimate they formed of his character, and* in 
the policy which they intended to advance. 
For it was afterwards sufficiently proved, that 
the government of the church could not have 
been entrusted to one more firm and temperate 
in the exercise of his authority, more watchful 
over its general interests, or more intrepid in 
the defence of its rights and privileges at the 
hour of peril.* 

* In Dryden's Absalom and Achitophcl^ Sancroft is intro- 
duced under the name of Zadoc^ in the following couplet, which 
describes, probably with great truth, the absence from his mind 
of all ambition for exaltation and pre-eminence. 

** Zadoc the priest, whom, shunning power and place. 
His lowly mind advanced to David's grace.'* 


His consecration took place in Westminster 
Abbey, on Sunday, January 27th, 167^. 

The following is the public letter of congra- 
tulation addressed to Archbishop Sancroft, on 
his elevation to the primacy, from the Univer- 
sity of Cambridge. The letters on such occa- 
sions are usually written by the public orator ; 
ind, as the person at this time filling that situa- 
tion happened to be the Archbishop's intimate 
friend, and former pupil. Dr. H. Paman, the 
feelings of private affection gave warmth to the 
language of panegyric dictated by public duty. 

Reverendissimo in Christo Patri ac Domino^ Gul. 

Archiep. Cantuar.* 

" Liceat saltem academisD Cantabri- 
giensi, reverendissimo antistes, m summo tuo 
honore laetari simul et superbire ; quem tu ta- 
men, nisi majorem in obsequio quam imperio 
poneres gloriam, pertinaci animo penitus re- 
cusasses. Non enim more solenni et ritu con- 
sueto solum, sed bona fide, nolebas episcopari. 
Tibi certum erat in unius ecclesiee Paulinae 
ruinis abditissimfe delitescere, illas quam ten\et 
ipsum illustrare paratiori. Malebas scilicet 

* See Appendix to Ward's Lives of the Gresham Professors, 
p. 138. 


privatus omnino latere, sed eximia tua te pro- 
didit virtus ; tarn praeclara et ad ecclesise gloriam 
nata lux, latebris concludi, aut occultari nescia, 
non nisi in summo coUocari meruit. Tarn re- 
pentinus autem in summum ascensus non aliter 
se habety quam cum sol uno statim ictu se om- 
nibus aperiat, et lucem momento latissim^ dif- 
fundat. Null4 arte celari potest decens ilia 
gravitas, obvia ubique humanitas, spectata in 
rebus agendis prudentia, comitas incredibilis, 
quae vel in infimo laudem meretur, varia et per- 
fecta eruditio, quae vel in alio quovis comitem 
haberet superbiam, primaeva denique vitae sanc- 
timonia, quae vel sine mitr4 et pedo episcopum 
indicaret. Rex autem serenissimus, meritorum 
explorator prudentissimus, cum quaerendus 
esset qui Deum in tends innocenti^ et sanctitate 
maxime referret, ejusque in ecclesiA suppleret 
vices, ipsum solum in consilium assumpsit, et te 
tandem imperatori^ majestate, quk uti necesse 
erat, non tam elegit episcopum, quam coegit 
renitentem. Diutina sapientissimi principis 
deliberatio eo solum tendebat, ut firmior consta- 
ret muneri ratio, et diligentiori facto scrutinio 
tandem liqueret, non alium digniorem inveniri, 
in quo summa rerum ecclesiasticarum potestas 
resideret. Cum igitur tardo pede in summum 
hoc conscenderis fastigium, tardiore exeas, ut 


ecclesia, sub felici tuo imperio, feliciore prsesidio 
et gloria diutissim^ fruatur. Ita animitiis pre- 
cantur, Gloriae tuse studiosissimi, Procancella- 
rius reliquusque Senatus Academiae Cantabri- 

Dat. e fi^quenti Sen. 
5 Id. Jan. 1677. 





State of the Church and Kingdom at the Period of his Elevation 
to the Primacy — Address to James Duke of York to convert 
him from Popery — General Attention to the Duties of his 
Station — Regulations about granting Testimonials — Letter re* 
specting the Augmentation of small Vicarages — Restoration of 
Archbishop Parker's Monument — Suspension of the Bishop of 
lichfield and Coventry — Letter to Dr. Covel, SfC, — Attendance 
on Charles II. on his Death bed. 

At the time when Archbishop Sancroft was 
appointed to the primacy of the church of 
England, a station in which he afterwards 
acted so important and distinguished a part, 
the feelings of alarm in the nation at the 
growing ascendancy of the Roman Catholics, 
. grounded on the suspected attachment of the 
reigning monarch to their cause, and on the 
prospect of a successor who was a bigotted 
member of that church, were daily gaining 
strength. From the side of the Presbyterians 
and other Protestant Dissenters, little danger 
was at this time apprehended to the government 


and church. Although by the Act of Uni- 
formity, passed in the beginning of Charles's 
reign, more than 2,000 ministers were ejected 
from their benefices, yet so generally unpo- 
pular were those sectaries, through whom such 
accumulated calamities had overwhelmed the 
kingdom, and so strong the tide of opinion in 
favour of the episcopal form of church govern- 
ment, that with regard to them the public 
mind was comparatively at rest. The king, 
indeed, felt the obligations under which he lay 
to the Presbyterian party, whose exertions 
were conspicuous in bringing about the Re- 
storation; and, partly with a view to them, 
had twice, in 1662 and 1672, issued declarations 
of indulgence suspending all penal laws which 
applied to Dissenters. But it is a remarkable 
fact, and strongly indicative of the quarter to 
which the public fears were directed, especially 
on the latter of these two occasions, that the 
great objections made to the exercise of this 
dispensing power were founded, not on the relief 
which it held out to Protestant Dissenters, but 
on the facility which it afforded to the Papists 
of acquiring an ascendancy.* If, however, 

* The Protestant nonconformists themselves were jealous of 
this dispensing power^ claimed in 1672^ from the conviction 
that it was not exercised from any afiection to them, hut to 
serve the interests of popery : and it was declared for them in 


the fears which prevailed in the public mind, 
during the lifetime of Charles, of his disposition 
to support the Roman Catholic, at the expense 
of the Protestant, interests, were founded rather 
on general presumption than on positive know- 
ledge, the light which has subsequently been 
thrown on the circumstances of those times, 
has shown that they were justified to the fullest 
extent. It has appeared from authentic docu- 
ments, not only that he was a regular member 
of the Roman Catholic church, but also that, 
during the greater part of his reign, he was 
actually engaged in a systematic plan to 
establish that religion in this kingdom. It is 
now matter of recorded history, that, in 1670, 
a treaty was concluded between him and the 
king of France, in which the latter engaged to 
pay him a yearly stipend of £ 200,000 for the 
purpose of assisting him in the enterprise of 
establishing popery in England.*^ 

Still, as this treaty was kept a profound secret, 
the hopes of the popish party, and the appre- 
hensions of the Protestants, were less founded 
on the suspected predilections of Charles, than 

pariiament that they had sooner go without their own desired 
liberty^ than haTe it in a way so destructive of the liberties of 
the country, and of the Protestant interest. See Neale*s His- 
tory of the Puritans, vol. iv. 445^ 455. 
* See Stuart Papers, Life of King James II. vol. I p. 442. 


bn the known rooted disposition of his probable 
successor* Charles, a man of licentious habits, 
was supposed to have no very serious attach- 
ment to any religion; James, on the other 
hand, was known to be a bigotted religionist ; 
one who deemed it matter of conscience and of 
duty to convert others to the religion which he 
himself professed ; and who, it was justly pre- 
sumed, as soon as he possessed the sovereign 
power, would spare no endeavours to bring 
back the nation to the bosom of the Romish 
church. Hence, as is well known, when the 
public fears were quickened by real or pre- 
tended plots of the Papists, and when the pro- 
spect of James's succession to the throne be- 
came nearer, attempts were made to exclude 
him from it by law, on the ground of his reli- 
gion : but it is singular that, had the true state 
of things been then developed, the same reasons 
which were urged for the exclusion of James 
from the succession to the throne, would have 
applied with equal force to the expulsion of 
Charles from the actual possession »of it. 

Archbishop Bancroft, at a very early period 
after his appointment to the primacy, engaged 
in a remarkable attempt to recover the Duke of 
York from the bosom of the Romish church. 
There seems no reason to doubt that the design 
originated principally, if not wholly, with him- 


self; and that he communicated it to some of 
his brethren on the bench for their approbation 
and concurrence. He was probably induced 
to make this attempt from the anxious desire 
which he felt of averting the evils, religious and 
civil, which the Duke's devoted attachment to 
the Romish faith was likely to entail upon the 
nation. We cannot suppose that, with the know- 
ledge which he must have had of the Duke's 
character, he formed any sanguine expectations 
of succeeding in his purpose ; but he probably 
felt it matter of conscientious duty to try what 
he could effect in a matter, in which success 
would be attended with the most valuable and 
important consequences. 

He communicated his design* to King Charles, 
who approved it, probably with the view of pre- 
serving fair appearances with the bishops and 
the public, and suggested that the venerable 

* The Archbishop, in the following letter to Bishop Morley, 
uses an expression which might seem to imply that the design 
of endeavouring to convert the Duke of York originated with 
the king. He says, '' I bad a private intimation from my 
superior, that it is his pleasure some further attempt should be 
made, &c/' But, probably, the expression means nothing 
more than that the king consented to his proceeding in bis pro- 
jected attempt. However, the matter is made quite clear by the 
Archbishop's reply to the Duke of York, given at p.* 176. ^m 
the Stuart Papers, in which he says that the king knew of 
their intention, but the design originated with the bishops. 

VOL. I. M 


Dr. Morley, Bishop of Winchester,* would be 
a proper person to be associated with him oh 
the occasion. 

In consequence, the Archbishop wrotef to 
Bishop Morley in the following terms : 

The Archbishop of Canterbury to the Bishop of 


" Lambeth, February 11, 1678. 

** My good Lord, 

" After so long and active a life as 
you have spent hitherto in serving the public 
to so good a purpose at home and abroad, in 
that great variety of stations and conditions in 
which God by his good providence hath placed 
you, there is no man, I think, who, observing 
you make to land, and ready to put into port, 
did not follow you with his good wishes, that 

* Greorge Morley, Bishop of Winchester, was educated at 
Christchurch. In 1 64 1 , he was made chaplain to King Charles, 
and attended him during the wars, and also in the Isle of 
Wight. After the king*s death, he went into voluntary exile, 
officiated for Charles II. at the Hague, and for the exiled 
royalists at different places. In 1660, he was made Dean of 
Christ's Church and Bishop of Worcester ; and was appointed 
to preach the Coronation Sermon for Charles II. In 1662, he 
was translated to Winchester, and died in 1684. He was a 
liberal and public spirited man, and of considerable learning. 
See Salmon's Lives of English Bishops. 

t See Appendix to Henry Earl of Clarendon's Letters and 
IMary,p. 265; taken from Tanner's MSS. 


your anchors and cable might hold ; that you 
might ride safe there from all harms, and enjoy 
a long and an easy old age, and at last find 
that happy luflakacria that always attends a life 
led according to the rules of our great and 
common master. I have not hitherto inter- 
rupted your privacy and retirement, but prayed 
heartily, as I do still, that you may enjoy the 
comforts of it till our Lord shall think fit to 
remove you from your work to your reward ; 
which sure you long for, as a labourer for the 
shadow of the evening. 

" But, my Lord, (and therefore after all the 
former descant upon * fortiter occupa portum,' 
I am to say also from the same poet, * O navis, 
referent in mare te novi fluctus,') you stand on 
the shore, and cannot but see us toiling and 
rowing. I know you pity us, for the wind is 
contrary. We must desire you (as we all do) 
once more to put out again, and help us. Yes- 
terday I had a private intimation from my 
superior, that it is his pleasure some further 
attempt should speedily be made to recover the 
Duke of York out of that foul apostacy into 
which the busy traitors from Rome have se- 
duced him. And he names your Lordship, if 
not the only person proper for such a negotia- 
tion, at least as most fit to appear in the head 
of it. I cannot minutely discourse all particu- 

M 2 


lars to you : the very naming the design will 
bring into your Lordship's view the happy con- 
sequences which will follow it, if it shall please 
God to bless us with success. However, we 
shall not miss the comfort of having done our 
duty in a thing which is so highly decent in the 
King to direct, and for us to endeavour ; and 
which will certainly be acceptable both to God 
and man, whatever the event shall prove. I 
cannot doubt> my Lord, but you will be ready 
to hazard something; and your particular 
friends here .will be careful to provide you so 
fair accommodations as may abate as much as 
possible of the danger : and the rest of us will 
not fail to attend you with our hearty prayers, 
that the good hand of God may be upon you to 
bring you safe, and to give you favour in the 
sight of man. Though we cannot expect you 
should immediately on the receipt hereof come 
towards us ; yet we hope you will immediately 
resolve and let us know it; for the matter is 
pressing, and I am urged to hasten it to an 
issue. That it may be such as our souls desire, 
shall be the daily prayer of, 

" My good Lord, 
" Your Lordship's affectionate Brother, 
'* And Servant in our common Master." 

The Bishop of Winchester, in answer* to this 

* See CUtfendon*8 Appendix, p. 267. 


letter, stated that nothing but such an occasion 
could have prevailed on him to leave his retreat; 
that, notwithstanding his secluded habits and 
advanced age, (for within a fortnight he should 
enter on the 82d year of his age,) still in com- 
pliance with what the King and his Grace 
thought right, he would not fail to lend his 
assistance towards effecting a matter of such 
great importance, at whatever risk to himself 
it might be. 

Accordingly, on the 21st of February, the 
Duke of York having granted an audience, and 
been previously made acquainted with their 
purpose, the Archbishop of Canterbury and 
Bishop of Winchester were introduced into his 
closet at St. James's ; and the Archbishop adr 
dressed him in the following speech :* 

** May it please your Royal Highness, 

" We are here to wait upon you this 
morning (this my reverend brother and myself) 
with allowance and by your appointment, and 
are therefore the bolder to pray you, that of 
your clemency you would hear us patiently a 
few words. We come to you, Sir, with that 
humility and profound respect which beseems 
those who have the honour to speak to so great 

* CiarendoD*8 Appendix, p. 268. 
M 3 


a Prince; and with hearts full of that duty 
and loyalty which upon so^many accounts is 
particularly due from us to your most illus- 
trious family. But we come also warmed and 
enlivened and spirited with that ardent zeal 
and true devotion which we owe tp the excel- 
lent religion we profess, and to that most holy 
faith whereof our kings have the honour to be, 
and to be styled, the defenders. What we are 
now about to say to your Highness is that 
which heaven and earth have long expected 
from us that we should say, and what we 
cannot answer it to God or man, if we omit or 
neglect when we have an opportunity ; which 
your Royal Highness is pleased at this time to 
afford us. And therefore hearken unto us, we 
beseech you, that God may hearken unto you ; 
and let it be no grief nor offence of heart unto 
you, if with that freedom which becomes good 
Christians and loyal subjects and true English- 
men, we lay before you at this time some of the 
many grievances, and just complaints of our 
common mother, the holy, but most afflicted, 
church of England. 

** If there be now in the world a church to 
whom that eulogium, that she is a lily among 
thorns, is due and proper, it is this church of 
which we are members, as it stands reformed 
now and established amongst us : the purest cer- 


tainly upon earth, as being purified from those 
many corruptions and abuses which the lapse 
of times, the malice of the devil, and the wick- 
edness of men had introduced insensibly into 
the doctrine and worship and government of 
it. But then withal this lily of purity hath for 
these many years (by the malicious and subtile 
machinations of her restless and implacable 


enemies) been surrounded with thorns on every 
side; and even to this day she bears in her 
body the marks of the Lord Jesus, the scars of 
the old, and the impression of new and more 
dangerous wounds ; and so fills up daily that 
which is behind of the suflerings of her cruci- 
fied Saviour. 

" But yet, Sir, in the multitude of the sor- 
rows which she hath in her heart, give us leave 
to tell you, (for so it is,) scarce any thing hath 
so deeply and so sensibly wounded her, as that 
your Royal Highness should think fit even in 
her affliction to forsake her. Her s is the womb 
that bare you. Sir, and hers the pap that gave 
you suck. You were bom within her then 
happy pale and communion, and baptized into 
her holy faith : you sucked the first principles 
of Christianity from her, the principles of the 
oracles of God, that sincere milk of the word, 
not adulterated with heterogeneous or foreign 
mixtures of any kind. Your royal father, that 



blessed martyr of ever-glorious memory, who 
loved her and knew how to value her, and lost 
his all in this world for her, even his life too, 
bequeathed you to her at the last. When he 
was ready to turn his back upon an impious 
and ungrateful world, and had nothing else 
now left him but this excellent religion, (which 
he thought not only worth his three kingdoms 
but ten thousand worlds,) he gave that queen in 
legacy amongst you. For thus he bespake the 
King your brother, and in him all that were 
his : words that deserve to be written in letters 
of gold, and to be engraved in brass or marble. 
" If you never see my face again, I require and 
" entreat you, as your father and as your king, 
" that you never suffer your heart to receive 
** the least check or disaffection from the true 
** religion established in the church of England. 
** I tell you I have tried it, and after much 
'^ search and many disputes, have concluded it 
" to be the best in the world." 

" And accordingly. Sir, we hereupon enjoyed 
you for many years, to your — we hope, we are 
sure to our — exceeding great comfort and satis- 
faction. We saw you in those happy days 
constant and assiduous in the chapels and 
oratories of the palace. 

'* Like the bright morning and evening star 
you still arose and set with our sun, and shined 


with him there in the same heavenly orb. You 
stood, as it was meet, next to the throne, the 
eldest son of this now despised church, and in 
capacity to become one day the nursing father 
of it: and we said in our hearts, it may so come 
to pass, that under his shadow also we shall sit 
down and be safe. But alas ! it was not long 
before you withdrew yourself by degrees from 
thence; (we know not how, nor why, God 
knows,) and though we were loath at first to 
believe our fears, yet they proved at last too 
mighty for us ; and when our eyes failed with 
looking up for you in that house of our Gbd, 
and we found you not, instead of fear, sorrow 
filled our hearts, and we mourn your absence 
ever since, and cannot be comforted. And 
then in that other august assembly in the house 
of the kingdom, (the most sacred of any but the 
house of God himself,) think, we beseech you. 
Sir, (and sure it will soften and intenerate you 
into some pity when you have thought,) how 
you stab every one of us to the heart, how you 
even break our hearts, when we observe (as all 
the world doth) that we no sooner address our- 
selves to heaven for a blessing upon the public 
counsels (in which you have yourself so great 
too, and so high a concern), but immediately 
you turn your back upon us. 
Have we forgotten the name of our God ? or 


do we stretch our hands to a strange God? 
Would not God search this out ? for he knoweth 
the very secrets of the heart. Or, if indeed 
we worship the same one God, and go to him 
by that one mediator of God and man, whom 
you cannot refuse, is there any thing in the 
matter of our requests which can be justly 
blamed by any Christians ? We pray (amongst 
the rest) for your Royal Highness by name, 
and so do many thousands of good Christians 
besides within his Majesty's dominions every 
day. And can you find in your heart. Sir, (a 
heart so noble and generous, so courteous too,) 
to throw back all these prayers, and renounce 
them, as so many affronts and injuries to heaven 
and you ? If we who stand here before you, 
Sir, should declare (as we do at present, and 
we hope it misbecomes us not,) that we do now 
actually lift up our hearts with our hands unto 
God in the heavens, that he would be pleased 
to endue you with his holy Spirit, to enrich 
you with his heavenly grace, to prosper you 
with all happiness, and to bring you to his ever- 
lasting kingdom ; can you withhold your soul 
from going up together with our souls one 
entire sacrifice to heaven to so good and so 
holy a purpose ? Or, if you can, (which seems 
indeed to be the sad state of the case, nor is 
that action of yours, in the common acceptation 


of mankind, capable of fairer construction): 
blessed God, what shall we say? Tell us 
then, if you please, what we are to think you 
judge of us. Are our prayers (so qualified as 
before) not only turned into sin to ourselves, 
but able to devastate and unhallow yours too 
by their contagion ? Are we then all become 
to you as heathen men and publicans; given 
up as firebrands of hell, and marked out for 
damnation? Or, rather. Sir, (for what patience, 
what phlegm of a stoic, can tamely pass it by ?) 
have not they, to whom you have unhappily 
surrendered the conduct of your conscience, 
put off at once all reason and common sense, 
all bowels of Christian charity and mercy, nay, 
all common modesty and humanity itself? — - 
Now, blessed be God, that these men are not 
appointed judges of the quick and the dead; 
for then no flesh would be saved, but those 
few (I say few in regard of the whole Christian 
world) who absolutely give up themselves to 
serve the secular interests and designs of the 
proudest, the cruellest, and the most uncha- 
ritable church in the world. It is more than 
time. Sir, that you consider seriously between 
Grod and your own soul, (when you two meet 
together alone at midnight,) what you have 
done, and where you are ; that you remember 
whence you are fallen, and repent, and do the 


first works ; that at length you open your eyes 
and your ears (and we beseech Almighty God, 
who only can, to open your heart) to better 
and more impartial information. It may be, 
you have been told (we are sure it is the usual 
method in which some treat their proselytes,) 
that you ought to put out your own eyes, and 
give them your hand to lead you whither they 
please ; to yield up yourself entirely in implicit 
faith and wretched blind obedience to all their 
imperious dictates and commands, but by no 
means to hear or read (much less consider) 
what any man else can suggest to the contrary ; 
which is so mean and so unmanly a submission 
of reason, and faith too, and of all the powers 
of the soul, to the arbitrary impositions of an 
insolent and tyrannical faction, that nothing 
can be more so ; unless this be, that, if perhaps 
under this dismal universal interdict of all aids 
and assistances that can come in to you from 
abroad, it shall please God himself by his holy 
spirit to hover on the working of your own 
thoughts within, and by that collision to strike 
fire out of them, and to say, let there be light, 
and in that light to show you the error or the sin 
of something that hath been imposed upon you : 
you are bound (say these severe casuists, but 
remiss enough in other instances) to resist those 
motions, to refuse those irradiations, to rebel 


against that light, and to shake these bright 
sparks of heaven out of your bosom, and tread 
them under foot, and damn them all as the 
suggestions and temptations of the devih Cer- 
tainly there cannot be, I think, a stronger pre- 
sumption (I had almost said a clearer demon- 
stration) of a bad cause, weak and ruinous in 
itself, diffident too and despairing in it3elf, 
than such a vile and disingenuous fashion of 
procedure. And if this. Sir, were the case 
with you at present, we should have nothing left 
us to do but only to mourn for you in secret, 
and to commend you to the extraordinary and 
miraculous mercies of God, which alone can 
rescue you from so great a bondage. But we 
hope better things of you, great Sir, and things 
that accompany salvation, though thus we speak. 
You are master of too good an understanding, 
and of too high a carriage, to suffer yourself to 
be treated at so vile and cheap a rate. A ge- 
nerous and noble mind can never give up itself 
to be thus imposed upon, and ridden by such 
unjust, immodest pretenders. They are not 
only cruel, but impudent and foolish, that pre- 
tend great kindness forsooth, while they put 
out a man's eyes, (at least hoodwink, and 
blindfold him,) and then set him to grind in 
their mills, and serve their turns upon him in 
all the low instances of drudgery. Whereas 


the true and genuine Christian religion is a 
plain, and honest, and disinterested thing, full 
of sweet candour and holy simplicity, hath no 
tricks in it, no designs upon any man, but only 
to make him wise and good, and so, happy for 
ever : and it suits not at all with the noble fine 
temper and ingenuity of it to pretend or desire 
to be taken upon trust, or to obtrude itself 
upon any man without examination. Nothing at 
all of that moment is to be done in the dark, or 
be huddled up in such a blind implicit manner. 
The coin that refuseth the touchstone and the 
balance, is justly suspected false and adulte- 
rate; and will never go for current payment 
with any that understand themselves and take 
care of their affairs. And therefore, Sir, for the 
love of heaven and your own soul, look about 
you, and make use of the faculties which God 
hath given you. You owe a satisfaction to 
yourself, and so doth every honest man in 
whatever he doth; and when all is done and 
said on all sides, if he but lets himself loose 
to think, consider, and reflect, he will judge for 
himself at last, and he cannot help or avoid it. 
It was St. Paul's, advice to his Thessalonians, 
(and it is our's to you. Sir, and the sum of what 
we would say,) " prove all things, and hold fast 
that which is good," or, with those Bereans, 
more noble than their neighbours, *' Search the 


Scriptures, whether those things be so or 
not." And if this be your present resolve or 
inclination, (as we trust it is,) we are here. Sir, 
in our own, and in the names of the rest of our 
brethren now about town, to make you a most 
humble tender of our best and utmost assistance ; 
and that the consultation may be easy and come 
to a short issue, we will not engage you in 
doubtful disputations; we will not lead you 
into hard and thorny questions; we will not 
perplex you with the subtilties and niceties of 
the schools, nor with any thing that lies remote 
and out of common view, beyond the reach of 
ordinary notice. A plain text or two of scrip- 
ture, and a plain obvious matter of fact, recorded 
in a hundred books, that are in our own lan- 
guage, and in every man's hand, is all we shall 
trouble your Royal Highness with : and from 
these, so few and so humble premises, we doubt 
not by God's assistance to be able to evince, 
that your Royal Highness is bound in con- 
science, and as you tender the welfare of your 
immortal soul, immediately to quit the com- 
munion and guidance of your step-dame, the 
church of Rome, and then to return into the 
bosom of your true, dear, and holy mother, the 
church of England. And thus we prove the first 
of these ; sc. that you ought forthwith to aban- 
don the communion of the church of Rome. 


'* That church which teacheth and practiseth 
the doctrines destructive of salvation is to be 
relinquished. But the church of Rome teacheth 
and practiseth doctrines destructive of salva- 
tion. Therefore the church of Rome is to be 

The delivery of this address occupied nearly- 
half an hour. The Duke heard the Archbishop 
without at all interrupting him. As soon, how- 
ever, as he had concluded, he expressed how 
much surprise he had felt when the application 
was made to him to permit those two prelates 
to wait upon him, as from the whole of their 
bench; that he had not thought it right to 
refuse them, although he felt that to be pressed 
upon such a point just before the meeting of 
parliament was very injurious to his interests ; 
that the prejudices now prevailing against him 
on the subject of his religion were very strong, 
and that this must tend to aggravate them. He 
then asked the Archbishop whether he had come 
on this occasion by the direction of the King, or 
merely at the request of the Bishops. He an- 
swered that the King knew of their intention, 
but that the design originated with the Bishops. 
The Duke then replied, that he had not the 
smallest doubt of the good intentions both of 
themselves and of some others of their order ; 
still he could not help suspecting that those 


who had urged them to this measure intended 
to do him an injury. He added, with reference 
to the discourse they had made, that it would 
be presumptuous in an illiterate man like him- 
self to enter into controversial disputes with 
persons of their learning: nevertheless, he 
would have acquainted them with the reasons 
of his conversion, if he had thought the occa- 
sion a proper one for so doing, and if his*leisure 
had permitted : he assured them thmt he had 
taken all the pains he could to examine the 
grounds of his religious faith ; that he had not 
made the change hastily or without considera- 
tion, or without foresight of the inconveniences 
which must ensue to him from it. Having said 
thus much, he begged them not to take it amiss, 
or feel surprised, that the great pressure of busi- 
ness made it necessary for him to dismiss them 
without any further discussion of the points 
which they had urged.* 

It does not appear that the Duke ever re- 
verted to the subject with the Archbishop, or 
invited any further discussion of the points 
which formed the matter of this address. No 
doubt, he was at this time too strongly preju- 
diced in favour of popish doctrines to admit of 

* See the Stuart Papers, Life of Bang James, taken from 
his Private Memoirs, vol. i. p. 539, 540. 

VOL. I. N 


any reasonable chance of his conversion, or even 
of his listening to the arguments that were 
urged against them with a mind open to con- 

In the execution of the duties of the exalted 
station to which he was now called. Archbishop 
Sancroft showed himself ever attentive to the 
best interests of the church, anxious to pre- 
serve the purity of the ministerial character, 
and to provide for the proper performance of 
the ministerial functions. He distinguished 
himself too on just occasions by a vigorous 
exertion of his archiepiscopal authorities. 

A letter, which he wrote to Dr. Isaac Bar- 
row,* Bishop of St. Asaph, soon after his ap- 
pointment to the primacy, conveys a favourable 
impression both of the uprightness and of the 
benevolence of his mind, at the same time that 
it exhibits a fair specimen of the neat and ex- 
pressive style in which it was his habit to write. 
Bishop Barrow, it appears,f had displayed pe- 
culiar disinterestedness in forbearing to renew 
the lease of an estate of considerable value, on 

* Isaac Barrow was educated at Peter-house, Cambridge, 
and became fellow j was ejected^ and forced into retirement, 
during the troubles ; returned to his fellowship at the Restora- 
tion 5 in 1662, was made Bishop of Man 3 in 1669, Bishop of 
St. Asaph, and died in 1680. See Brown Willis's Survey of 
the Cathedral Church of St. Asaph. 

t B. Willis's Survey of St. Asaph, p. 278. 


which two lives out of three had already fallen; 
thereby giving up the private emolument, to 
which he was fairly entitled, for the advantage 
of his successors, and the perpetual augmenta- 
tion of the see ; and, in order to secure this 
benefit to the see, in the event of his life drop- 
ping before the lease actually fell in, he pro- 
cured by the assistance of the Archbishop a 
royal letter sanctioning what he had done, and 
strictly requiring any bishop who might suc- 
ceed him to confirm it. The Archbishop, in 
sending to him this royal letter, addresses him 
in the following terms :* 


** Salutem in Christo. 

Lambeth House^ April Ist^ 1679. 

'* My Good Lord, 

" In an age when so many seek their 
QWEL, and so few the good of the church in 
general, it is an high and noble example which 
your Lordship has given us, by neglecting the 
opportunity of your private advantage to pro- 
mote the common benefit of your successors. 
I assure you, his Majesty esteems and accepts 
well this instance of your zeal for God's church, 
and with that God I doubt not your reward 
yill be on high. To him my prayer shall be, 
that you may live to see the good work accom- 
plished which you have so well begun. But if 

♦ B. Willis's Survey of St. Asaph, p. 276. 

N 2 


it shall please him to take you from your work 
to your reward before, the enclosed may secure 
you that care will be taken to (give in) succes- 
sion what you have so worthily designed. For 
liie manner of doing it, I consulted both my 
Lord Chancellor and my Lord Chief Justice 
North ; and if you can suggest any thing that 
will make it stronger or safer I will pursue it. 

" My Lord, there is one thing more which I 
have been much importuned to move your 
Lordship in, and it is with my Lord of London's 
privity and consent that it is once more pro- 
posed to you. There is a stranger who has 
been some time among us, John Sesbaldus Fa- 
bricius, a man of very good learning, humble 
and modest, one that loves our church well, 
and hath written in defence of it, and thereby 
created himself enemies both among our Dis- 
senters here and his own countrymen, who 
have thereupon divested him of the livelihood 
he had there before, so that I have now reason 
to fear he is in want. My Lord, I have been 
informed that his Majesty hath written twice 
to you to bestow one of the many sinecures 
within your patronage upon him, it being in 
regard of his want of language the only proper 
way of providing for him. I am very loth to 
press upon your Lordship, it is against my 
nature and against my rule. It is fit, I think, 
that every man be left freely to dispose of his 


own. I shall only say. This man is worthy for 
whom you should do this, for he hath loved our 
nation; and I verily believe that if you shall 
comply with this request of mine, he that is the 
God of the helpless, and of the stranger, will 
give you the comfort of it both here and here- 


** My Lord, 
** With all hearty affection, 
*' Your loving Brother, 

" W. Cant." 

« To' the Lord Bishop of St. Asaphr 

In the first year of his elevation to the see, 
he deemed it expedient to call the attention of 
the bishops of his province to the necessity of 
exercising greater strictness than had usually 
obtained, in inquiring into the characters of 
those who were destined for the sacred func- 
tions. It appears that, in granting testimonials 
in favour of candidates for holy orders, too 
great laxity had been practised; those who 
subscribed them having been frequently in the 
habit of signing their names, merely as a matter 
of form, and often without proper and strict 
inquiry into the truth of what they testified. 
For the purpose of checking a practice so inju- 
rious to the best interests of the church, he 
issued the following directions, addressed to the 



dean of his province, the Bishop of London, to 
be conununicated to the several bishops of the 

Directions'^ from the Archbishop of Canterbury to 
his Suffragans, concerning Testimonials to be 
granted unto Candidates for Holy Orders, dated 
from Lambeth House, August 23rf, 1678. 

" salutem in christo. 
" My Lord, 

" Whereas the easy and promiscuous 
granting of letters testimonial, (which is m itself 
a sacred thing, and in the first intention of great 
and very weighty importance,) is by the lapse 
of time and the corruption which by insensible 
degrees is crept into the best institutions, come 
to be, both in the Universities and elsewhere 
abroad in the dioceses, a matter of mere for- 
mality, and piece of common civility, scarce de- 
nied to any that asked it, and many times upon 
the credit of the first subscriber, attested by 
the rest who have otherwise no knowledge of 
the person so adorned : or else, where more 
conscience is made of bearing false witness, 
even for a neighbour, is done so perfunctorily, 
and in so low and dilute terms, as ought to 
signify nothing at all to the great end for 
which 'tis designed to serve ; and yet is some- 

t See Wilkiii8*8 Concilia Magim BntaniL Sancrofi. Aiebi^t - 



times^ with a like easiness and remissness, re-* 
ceived and proceeded upon; whereby great 
mischiefs in the church and scandals daily 
ensue, persons altogether undeserving, or at 
least not duly qualified, being too often, upon 
the credit of such papers, admitted into holy 
orders, and, in consequence thereupon, thrusting 
themselves into employments of high trust and 
dignity and advantage in the church, and by 
their numerous intrusions preventing and ex- 
cluding others of greater modesty and merit : 
concerning all which your Lordship cannot but 
remember how many and how great complaints 
we met with, both from our brethren the 
bishops, and others, during the late session of 
parliament, and what expedients for remedy 
thereof were then under debate and considera- 
tion among us. Now, as the result of those 
counsels, and for the effectual redressing of 
those inconveniences and preventing the like 
for the future, (though it would be abundantly 
sufficient to call all persons concerned on both 
sides, to the serious perusal of, and exact com- 
pliance with, those excellent constitutions and 
canons ecclesiastical, made in the year 1603, 
which have most wisely and fully provided to 
obviate all these evils,) yet because in the 
modem practice they seem not to be duly at- 
tended to, it is thought fit and necessary again 




to limit and regulate the grant, the matters, and 
the form of testimonials as foUoweth: vide- 
licet — 

** That no letters testimonial be granted only 
upon the credit of others, or out of a judgment 
of charity, which believes all things and hopes 
all things, but from immediate and personal 
knowledge, and that vowed and expressed in 
the letters themselves. 

" That (as to the form of these letters) every 
such testimonial have the date, both as to the 
time and place, expressly mentioned in the body 
of it, before it be subscribed by any, and pass 
also (as the canon requires) under hand and 
seal ; those namely from the Universities, under 
the common seal of their respective colleges, 
attested by the subscription of the master, 
head, or principal person there; and those 
from other places, under the hands and seals of 
three priests, at the least, of known integrity, 
gravity, and prudence, whp are of the voisinage 
where the person testified of resides, or have 
otherwise known his life and behaviour by the 
space of three years next before the date of the 
said letters. 

** And as to the matter of them, that they par- 
ticularly express the present condition of the 
person in whose behalf the testimony is given ; 
his standing and degree in the University ; his 


place of present abode and course of life ; his 
end and design for which he would make use 
t)f the said testimonial ; whether for obtaining 
the order of deacon or priest, or the employ- 
ment of a parson, vicar, curate, or schoolmaster; 
and that the subscribers know him to be worthy, 
and in regard of learning, prudence, and holy 
life, duly qualified for the same respectively : 
and if he desires holy orders, his age too, if the 
subscribers know it, or else that they admonish 
him to bring it, otherwise credibly and suffici- 
ently attested. Lastly, if such testimonial be 
to be made use of in another diocese than that 
where it is given, that it be by no means re- 
ceived without the letters dimissory of the 
bishop or other ordinary of the place, attesting 
in writing the ability, honesty, and good con-r 
versation of the person commended, in the 
place from whence he came. 

♦* My Lord, this is (I think) the sum of what 
was discoursed and resolved between us when 
we were last together. I therefore desire you, 
with all convenient speed, to cause copies 
thereof to be transcribed and transmitted to 
the several bishops of this province and vice- 
chancellors of the universities respectively, and 
to be by them communicated (as soon as may 
well be) to as many as are herein concerned, 
tlmt they may not be disappointed by coming 


furnished with such testimonials only as will 
not, nor ought, to be received to such great 
purposes, for which they are so often made use 
of. Commending your Lordship and your great 
affairs to the blessing of God Almighty, 

" I remain, my Lord, 
" Your Lordship's assured loving Brother, 

'* W. Cant> 

Another measure, connected with the general 
welfare of the church, which engaged his atten- 
tion at an early period after his elevation to 
the primacy, was the augmentation of small 
vicarages and other ecclesiastical benefices, in 
which the revenue for the minister was insuffi- 
cient for his decent maintenance. It has al- 
ready appeared* that, when he occupied a 
lower station in the church, he had turned his 
attention to this subject, and had, in one in- 
stance which cme immediately imder his juris- 
diction, himself applied a remedy to the evil. 

It is evident, from what passed at an early 
period after the Restoration, that ecclesiastical 
persons and bodies, in many cases where they 
themselves were the impropriators, had not 
been sufficiently careful to assign to the officiat- 
ing minister a competent salary, having fre-* 

* Page 148. 


quently suffered the money payment allotted 
for his maintenance to remain unchanged, under 
a considerable depreciation of the currency of 
the kingdom; and having even neglected to 
make an additional endowment of the benefice, 
in some instances where the augmented value 
ef the property held under the impropriation 
made it peculiarly reasonable that such an 
augmentation should be effected. This subject 
had engaged the attention of the king at an 
early period after the Restoration;* and he 
had by a royal letter directed the bishops and 
members of cathedral churches to increase the 
stipends paid to the ministers in the vicaragea 
and donatives under their jurisdiction. Subse- 
quently, in 1676, an act of parliament had 
passed,t enacting that, under all renewals of 
leases of rectories or impropriate tithes, where 
an augmented sum should be assigned for the 
maintenance of the minister, such augmentation 
should be perpetual. Still it appears that this 
desirable measure had not, in all instances, been 
carried into effect ; and in consequence, in 1680, 
die Archbishop addressed the following letter 
to the Bishop of London, as dean of his pro- 
vince, to be by him communicated to the several 
bishops and deans : 

* ♦ In the year 1662.— See Kennett's History, iii. 243. 
t See 29 Charles II. ch. 8. 


The Archbishop of Canterbury s Letter'^ to the 
Bishop of London^ about the Augmentation of 
Vicarages and Curacies. 

" My Lord» 

** The patrimony of the church (espe- 
cially in the smaller vicarages) hath been so 
long and so often by unjust customs, and other- 
wise, invaded, and by degrees daily more and 
more diminished ; and the little that is left of 
the old endowment, so likely by the same arts 
to be swallowed up and lost, that we have 
reason to bless God, who at the king's happy 
restoration put it into his heart by his letters to 
command us, upon the renewing of church 
leases, to make farther reservations, beyond the 
old rent, for the augmenting the livelihood of 
poor vicars and curates ; which being done, he 
also past a law for the* confirming and per- 
petuating such augmentations. After which 
pious care and provision, it would be an inde- 
lible blot upon us, if we should be found to 
have finally neglected any act enjoined us by 
that statute; whereby the payment of those 
augmentations is directed to be evidenced and 
secured. And yet (with grief I write it) I 
think I have ground to fear, that what in obe- 
dience to that excellent law ought to have been 

* See Wilklnss Concilia M. Brit. 


done by us above three years since, in order to 
so pious a purpose, is not to this day by us all 
universally performed. And, therefore, I desire 
your Lordship to communicate this my letter 
to all our brethren, the bishops of this province, 
by them to be transmitted to their respective 
deans, archdeacons, and prebendaries, strictly 
requiring them, upon receipt hereof, to have 
recourse to the said act of parliament, and 
forthwith punctually and effectually to perform 
what is therein enjoined them. And when 
that is done, to the end I may be assured that 
at last it is done, that every bishop, dean, and 
archdeacon, send me a particular of all the 
augmentations respectively by them made, or 
by their predecessor, with the names of the 
parishes, and the sum so reserved to the use of 
the incumbents, subscribed with their own 
hands; that so I may know what hath been 
done herein throughout the whole province. 
My Lord, I doubt not of your Lordship's readi- 
ness to promote so good a work, which with 
your good Lordship, and all your great affairs, 
I commend to God's blessing, and remain your 
Lordship's most affectionate friend and brother, 

- W. Cant." 

'' Lambeth House, February 2d, 1680." 

But Archbishop Sancroft embraced frequent 


opportunities of practising himself what he thud 
anxiously recommended to others. On several 
occasions of renewing the leases of impropriate 
rectories under his jurisdiction^ as archbishop, 
he made a liberal augmentation to the income 
of the officiating ministers. Among other in- 
stances of this,* he granted to the curate and 
preacher of Maidstone, for his better mainte- 
nance, a portion of the small tithes accruing 
within that borough: and, on renewing the 
lease of the impropriate rectorial tithes of 
Postling, in Kent, instead of accepting the fine, 
he employed the sum for the permanent im- 
provement of the salary of the vicar, providing 
at the same time that no injury should thereby 
be done to his own successors. In the first 
year of James II. 's reign, two particular in- 
stances of his exercising this useful description 
of benevolence are recorded. The one regarded 
the parishes of Whalley, Blackburn and Roch- 
dale, in Lancashire, where he possessed the 
impropriate rectories and the presentation to 
the livings. These parishes being of great ex- 
tent, and the population having increased pro- 
digiously, several chapels had been built for 
the accommodation of the inhabitants, but no 
regular provision had been made for the main- 

* See Kenneths Case of Impropriations, p. 304, &c. 


tenance of the ministers who performed the 
service. In consequence, on a great fine falling 
at this time to Archbishop Sancroft for the 
renewal of the lease of the rectorial tithes, he 
had the liberality to expend it in the purchase 
of lands, the rent of which he appropriated to 
the stipends of these ministers. 

In the other instance alluded to, he showed a 
pious regard to Fresingfield, the place of his 
birth. He purchased an estate in feefarm rents 
to the value of about £52 per ann. which he 
settled on the vicar and his successors for ever, 
making a small reserve for the salary of a master 
for the parochial school. 

At an early period of his occupation ,of Lam- 
beth Palace, Archbishop Sancroft had an op- 
portunity of paying due respect to the insulted 
remains of one of the greatest and most vener- 
able of his predecessors. Archbishop Parker. 
At the time of the rebellion,* Lambeth Palace 
had shared the wretched fate of many ecclesias- 
tical edifices, in being exposed to rude insult 
and violation. It fell to the possession of one 
of the parliamentary officers. Colonel Thomas 
Scott, whose temper seems to have well ac- 
corded with the views of the party in whose 
service he was employed. He converted the 
chapel where Archbishop Parker's remains 

* See Ducarel*s History of Lambeth Palace. 


were deposited, and where a monument was 
erected to his memory, into a hall or dancing 
room ; and, either for the purpose of showing 
his hatred to episcopacy in general, or else in 
the mere wantonness of profane and ferocious 
insolence, caused the remains of that venerable 
prelate to be dug up, the lead which enclosed 
them to be plucked off and sold, and the bones 
to be buried in a dung-hilL In this state they 
continued for some time after the Restoration. 
At last, Sir William Dugdale, hearing by chance 
of the transaction, repaired to Archbishop San- 
croft, and made him acquainted with it. The 
Archbishop immediately caused diligent search 
to be made, and procured the assistance of an 
order from the House of Lords. The bones 
being at last found, were decently deposited 
for the second time in the chapel, near the same 
spot where the monument formerly stood. Over 
them are the following words cut in the marble 
pavement of the chapel : 

Corpus Matthsbi Archiepiscopi tandem hie quiescit. 

The Archbishop ordered the same monument, 
which had formerly covered these remains, to 
be erected in the vestibule of the chapel, and 
himself composed the following inscription, 
which is still to be seen engraved on a plate of 
brass af&xed to it : 


Matthai Abchiepiscopi Cenotaphivm. 

Corpus enim (ne nescias, lector,) 

In adyto hujus sacelli olim rite conditum, 

A sectariis perduellibus, anno mdcxlviii, 

Effracto sacrileg^ hoc ipso tumulo, 

Elogio sepulchral! impi^ refixo, 

Direptis nefari^ exuviis plumbeis, 

Spoliatum, violatum, eliminatum ; 

Etiam sub sterquilinio (proh scelus) abstrusum, 

Rege demum (plaudente cslo et terrd) redeunte. 

Ex decreto Baronum Anglis, sedulo quaesitum, 

Et sacello postliminio redditum. 

In ejus quasi medio tandem quiescit ; 

Et quiescat utinam, 

Non nisi tubi ultimd solicitandum. 

Qui denuo desecrabit, sacer esto. 

Occasions were not wanting, on which Arch- 
bishop Sancroft maintained the discipline of the 
church with a just degree of dignity and firm- 
ness. A remarkable and unusual instance of 
this occurred in his suspension of Dr. Thomas 
Wood, Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, from 
his episcopal functions, on account of his neg- 
lect of his diocese and other misdemeanours. 
In this bishop we have an unhappy example of 
a very undeserving person raised to that im- 
portant and dignified station in the church by 
most unworthy and disgraceful means. It is 
recorded* that he obtained his bishopric imme- 

* Sec Bishop Kennctt's Papers in Lansdowne MSS. in 
British Museum, v. 987. 159. 

VOL. r. o 


diately from Charles II. through the interest of 
the Duchess of Cleveland, and that he recom- 
mended himself to her, by contriving that his 
niece, a virealthy heiress, to whom he was 
guardian, should marry the Duke of South- 
ampton, son of the duchess. After he was 
placed in the bishopric, he grossly neglected 
the concerns of the diocese, residing entirely 
out of it, and performing none of the functions. 
In addition to this, he refused to build an epis- 
copal house, although he received money for 
this purpose from the heirs of his predecessor, 
and although he cut down from the estates of 
the see, as for this building, timber, which he 
afterwards sold. The Archbishop of Canter- 
bury considered that a case of this flagrant 
nature demanded the interference of his metro- 
politan authority. He accordingly in April, 1 684, 
suspended* Bishop Wood from his episcopal 

* As transactions of this description are very rare in the 
churchy it may he satisfactory to give the instrument of suspen- 
sion, taken from Archhishop Sancroft's registers among the 
Lamheth records : 

In Dei nomine Amen. Cum coram venerahili et egregio viro 
Dom^ Ric^ Lloyd, milite et legum doctore surrogate venerabilis 
et egregii viri Dom* Roherti Wyseman militis et legum doctoris 
almsB curiae Cantuariensis de arcuhus Londin. officialis princi- 
palis legitime constituti, quoddam negotium officii promotum per 
Philippom Jacob Gen. contra reverendum in Cbristo Patrem ac 
dominum dominum Thomam permissione divin& Coventr. et 


dignity and functions. The bishop submitted 
some time after, and the suspension was taken 
off in May, 1686. However this exercise of 

Litchf. Episcopum nuper pendebat et vertebatur. Cumque dic- 
tum negotium per praefatum Philippum Jacob promotorem officii 
pnedicti et pnefatum reverendum patrem dominum Thomam 
Episcopum antedictum commissum et relatum fuerit arbitrio re- 
vereudorum In Christo patrum ac dominorum dominorum Hen- 
rici permissione divind Londin. Episcopi ac Domini Wilh"^ 
pennissione divind Petroburgensis Episcopi arbitrorum hinc inde 
electornm per eos audicndum et terminandum^ prout in actis 
bujus Alms Curiae Cantuariensis de arcubus plenius liquet et 
apparet : Cunque dlcti reverendi patres per judicium laudum sive 
sententiam eorum manibus et sigillis infra tempus eis praefixum^ 
et Umitatum subscriptum sigillatum et deliberatum inter alia in 
dicto judicio, laudo, sive sententia praefatum reverendum domi- 
num Thomam permissione di^ind Coventr. et Litchf. Episcopum 
ab officio suo et functione Episcopal! et a beneficiis proficuis et 
perquisitb Episcopatus praedicti suspendendum fore adjudica- 
verint et determinaverint donee mihi Wilhelmo providentia 
divind Cantuariens. Archiepiscopo plenam fecerit et debitam 
submissionem pro absentid sud a sud dicecesi, neglectu officii 
sui et caeteris criminibus contra eum allegatis et probatis. 
Cum denique dictum judicium laudum et sententia arbitrorum 
antedictorum fiierit^ et sit per sententiam definitivam hujus almae 
curiae Cantuariensis de arcubus confirmat. ratificat. et sententiat. 
Idcirco nos Wilhelmus providentia divind Cantuariensis Archi- ^ 
q[>iscopus totius Angliae Primus et Metropolitanus praefatum 
reverendum in Christo patrem ac dominum dominum Thomam 
pennissione divind Coventr. et Litchf. Episcopum ab officio 
too et functione Episcopali et a beneficiis proficuis et perqui- 
sitis Episcopatus praedict. donee fecerit nobis plenam et debitam 
submissionem pro absentid sud a sud dioecesi, neglectu officii 



authorityi tempered with mildness, unfortu- 
nately seems to have failed in producing the 
desired effect ; for the bishop appears to have 
continued in the habit of residing at a distance 
from his diocese, and of neglecting its con- 

About the end of the year 1684, a communica- 
tion was made to the Archbishop from Dr. Covel, 
then resident at the Hague, as chaplain to the 
Princess of Orange, at the suggestion and in- 
stigation of some persons there, recommending 
an attempt at the formation of a public league 
for the defence of the Protestant cause. Nothing 
more is known respecting the particulars of the 
plan, or the characters and motives of the per- 
sons who were forward in moving it, than is 
unfolded in the letter of the Archbishop to 

6ui et omnibus aliis criminibus contra eum allegatis et probads, 
8aspendimu8 in his scripUs. 

W. Cant. 

Lecta die Sabbath. 19 Julii, 1684, inter horas undec. et 
duodec. antemeridianas per rev^ Christo patrem ac dominum 
dominum Wilhelmum providentid divind Cantuar. Archiep. in 
capella sua infra manerium suum de Lambehyth in com. Surriae^ 
ad humilem petitionem M. Everardi Erton, &c. pnesentibus 
tunc et ibidem reverendo in Christo patre ac domino domino 
Francisco permissione divind Ro£fen. Episcopo ac reverendo in 
Christo patre Johanne permissione divind Insulas Man el So^ 
dorensis Episcopo Domino Bristolen. E^ecto. 


Dr. Covel, and Dr. Covel^s reply. The Arch- 
bishop's letter exhibits a striking proof of that 
cautious wisdom, and sagacious insight into 
human characters, for which he was so singu- 
larly distinguished; and Dr. Covel's reply 
clearly shows that the view which the Arch- 
bishop took of the motives which led to the 
communication was perfectly just. 

From Archbishop Sancrofl* to Dr. Covel at the 


"January 2d, 1684. 

" Sir, 

" Almost ever since I received your letter 
I have been under so great a distemper as I 
scarce ever felt before in my life, occasioned by 
old age and the severity of the present season, 
and that followed with so great a decay of 
strength and spirits that I was not able to 
hold up my head to do any business. And, 
though as yet but little relieved, I have at 
last taken up my pen to say something to 
your letter, because it is perhaps expected. 
And I shall begin with this necessary protesta- 
tion, that there are not, it may be, many per- 
sons who have a deeper or more tender resent- 
ment than I have of the sad and deplorable 

* Sec Tanner*! MSS. v. 32. No. 214. 



state of .the reformed churches in some parts of 
the continent of Europe : and I should count it 
my joy and the crown of my rejoicing, if I could 
contribute any thing, besides my daily prayers, 
ut videat Deus et requirat, towards restoring 
and advancing them to a yet better condition. 
I would also reckon it among the greater feli- 
cities of my life, if I might find myself in capa- 
city to do any agreeable service to those very 
great and most illustrious persons, whose names 
gild and ennoble your paper. 

** But since I am required in the first place to 
open my own mind, and to give my opinion as 
to the expedient at present advanced, I am very 
much afraid it will have little or no effect to- 
ward the pious design so well intended. In 
one of the places, whither it is addressed, 
things are, you know, infinitely embroiled and 
exasperated, and brought to the utmost ex- 
tremity; so that 'tis hardly seasonable, if 
decent, to move any thing there of this kind. 
The other place is the country and the proper 
soil of flatteries, where they are sown so thick, 
and come up daily so rank, that they grow up 
oftentimes into something too like blasphemies. 
And how well or favourably they are like to 
be received there, that come to tell the truth, 
to blame the present conduct, and to suggest 
unwelcome, or indeed any other, counsels, were 


not perhaps unfit to be thought of beforehand. 
After so long a train of uninterrupted and pro- 
digious successes, to think that they may be 
remonstrated or harangued into wiser or more 
moderate counsels, is all one as to hope to 
calm a tempest with a lesson upon the lute, or 
to silence the roaring of the winds with a trim* 
air upon the flageolet. Remonstrances between 
princes signify little, and therefore are not 
used, but when there is something else in rea- 
diness to keep them in countenance when they 
are despised, and to go on when they are 
forced to give over. And if that be indeed the 
last resort intended in this proposition, I must 
beg pardon if I refuse utterly to give any opi- 
nion on so nice a subject. 

And thus, Sir, I, having in some measure, 
and as my present unhealthiness would give 
leave, given some answer to your letter, and 
made some declaration of my own opinion 
upon the main matter propounded, the rest, I 
conceive, falls all to the ground: and, in 
particular, as to the commumcandum you sent 
enclosed, I have little to return that is fit for 
paper. For, though I would be glad to serve 
my brethren, yet their trumpet gives so uncer- 
tain a sound, that I know not how to prepare 
myself to do it. They seem sometimes to 
give me some commission; but presently aflter, 



they take it back again, with so many limita- 
tions and wary restrictions, that at last it be- 
comes not feasible. Upon consideration, I 
find that the only thing practicable in it, is 
ut rem totam silentio premam ; which, I assure 
you, I have done hitherto, and will do for the 
future most faithfully and religiously ; and I 
have right, I think, to expect the same silence 
from them and you. 

" And now, upon this occasion, let me tell 
you an adventure which befell me some years 
since. There came to dine with me a foreign 
ambassador from one of the northern crowns, 
who, after dinner, threw this blunt and abrupt 
question at me ; '' Why do not you persuade 
the King to put himself in the head of the Pro- 
testant league against France?" I answered 
him, as was meet, with questions: and why 
do not you, in order hereto, persuade your 
King, from whom it should begin, forthwith to 
adjust all differences with his neighbouring 
kings? They are brethren of the same con- 
fession, worship, and discipline ; nearest neigh- 
bours, yet most deadly implacable enemies, 
that omit no occasion on either side of ruining 
and destroying one another. Since, therefore, 
you have put me on the why not ; why do not 
they appoint the best and widest men of both 
kingdoms a committee de finibus requirendis. 


in the first place ; and/ in the next, to arbitrate 
all things in question between them; and, in 
fine, to establish, a firm, holy, and inviolable 
league, offensive and defensive, betwixt them 
and their kingdoms for ever. And, this being 
done, why should they not put over to the 
other side, and persuade into this blessed 
harmony, which one would think should not 
be difficult, those mighty princes on the oppo- 
site shore, with the rest all over Germany. 
And when you see such a body of a league 
prepared, it will be more seasonable to inquire, 
and more easy to find, who shall be the head. 
The ambassador answered not my question; 
nor was I any further troubled with his. 

" Youll say, perhaps, these are fine airy spe- 
culations, like some mechanical designs, easily 
laid down upon paper ; but when we go on to 
practice, the matter will prove stubborn and 
unmanageable. It may be so ; I fear it will be 
so. But yet, whatever becomes of your pro- 
ject or mine, or any other particular scheme, I 
can by no means, as our brethren seem to do, 
give up the whole Protestant cause at once, 
as lost and desperate, and ready to breathe its 
last. No! — God hath, by the Reformation, 
kindled and set up a light in Christendom, 
which, I am fully persuaded, shall never be 
extinguished. Heaven and earth shall pass 


away, but the word of the Lord endureth for 
ever: and this is the word which hath been 
preached amongst us. Only let them that 
suffer according to the will of God commit the 
keeping of their souls to him in well doing ; 
let them adore the unsearchable depths of his 
wise providence : who, when all our fine poli- 
cies are baffled and defeated, will take the 
matter into his own hands, and perfect what 
concerns us in a way we think not of: for His 
is the kingdom of the power ; to Him be the 
glory for ever. Amen. 

(Signed) W. C. 

Dr. Covets Answer to Archbishop Sancrofl* 

Hague, Jan. ^g, 168|. 

" May it please your Grace, 

" Your letter hath not only given a full 
demonstration of your most admirable wisdom 
and ample testimony of your hearty affections 
for the reformed religion, but you have therein 
highly advanced the glory of our own church 
above all the suspicions and calumnies that 
vain and malicious men (whereof we have not 
a few in these parts,) can suggest, or cast upon 
it. t do not doubt but the communicandum 
which I was ordered to send your Grace was really 

* Tanii.MSS.v.32. No.216. 


an honest intention of well disposed men; yet 
I must freely tell you, that I believe some here 
would have been glad if it might have proved 
a snare, or have given them any handle to 
traduce us; for I have often found in these 
places a devilish spirit at work in some men's 
minds, (especially in the vagabonds of our 
own country,) whose whole business and design 
in these troublesome times is to blacken us as 
much as possible. Your Grace has exactly ob- 
served the Apostle's rule apfpi^tait koh Kfaronan; 

you have most rationally satisfied the good men 
amongst us, to whom 1 have communicated 
your answer ; and it will utterly confound the 
false brethren, and at least shatter their rotten 
hearts, and much abate their impudence, if not 
quite stop their mouths. With those it hath 
the same effect that your Grace's answer had to 
the northern ambassador; I suppose they will 
give over their design. To these it will prove, 
I doubt not, a sufficient bar to hinder those 
impressions which their sly and malicious in- 
sinuations might otherwise have made upon 
some (perhaps good, but) too easy and credu- 
lous minds." 

There are no traces of any further communi- 
cations having taken place on this subject be- 
tween the Archbishop and Dr. Covel. 


From the high and honourable feelings which 
Archbishop Sancroft at all times displayed, it 
could not be doubted that he would view with 
great indignation all attempts at trafficking with 
church preferments. An instance occurred, in 
which he expressed his opinion on such con- 
duct with the warmth which became him. 
An archdeacon of Lincoln, having been con- 
victed of simony in the ecclesiastical courts, 
presented a petition to the king for a pardon. 
The king referred the petition to the considera- 
tion of the Archbishop, and desired him to 
report upon it. The Archbishop gave his opi- 
nion in most unequivocal terms in the following 
letter addressed to his Majesty. 

" May it please Your Majesty,* 

" The matter of fact for which the 
petitioner stands condemned is confessed in 
the petition ; and the matter of law, whether 

* Sec Tann. MSS. 32. 208. It ought to be mentioned that 
there is no date to this letter, nor mention of the name of the 
Jung, whether Charles or James, to whom it was addressed. 
Thus, though here it is referred to Charles, it is not cerUin that 
this is rightly done. It should be mentioned that, on referring 
to Leneve's Fasti, it appears that the same person was Arch- 
deacon of Lincoln from 1666 to 1715. Thus, whatever sen- 
tence was passed on this occasion, it is clear that he was not 
deprived of bis situation. 


the fact be simony, is not, I think, doubted of, 
by any one but himself. His whole defence is 
nothing but shifting and tergiversation, both 
below at Lincoln and here in the Arches. And 
now, the sentence having overtaken him, he 
appeals the second time to your Majesty in 
Chancery, as if he were still confident of his 
innocence, and yet at the same time confesseth 
his guilt by imploring your Majesty's gracious 

" Sire, the crime he stands convicted of, 
is a pestilence that walketh in darkness; too 
often committed, but very seldom discovered. 
And now there is a criminal detected, if your 
Majesty shall think fit, which God forbid, to 
rescue him from the penalty, the markets of 
Simon Magus will be more frequented than 
ever. Much rather, seeing he hath the courage 
to appeal to the delegates, to the delegates 
let him go: which yet, with all the rest, is 
humbly submitted to your Majesty's wisdom 
and justice. 

(Signed) " W. C." 

When Charles the Second lay on his death 
bed, under a fit of apoplexy. Archbishop San- 
croft with some of the other prelates attended 
him. He addressed the dying monarch in a 
weighty exhortation, in which he used great 


freedom of speech, alleging that he felt it ne- 
cessary to do so on so awful an occasion, when 
he, to whom his words were directed, was go- 
ing to be judged by One who is no respecter of 
persons. The king made him no answer; and 
paid no attention to the devotions and exhorta- 
tions oflFered to him by any of the Protestant 
divines. This was at first attributed to insen- 
sibility as to religious matters; but it was 
afterwards known that Romish priests were 
privately brought to his bed side; and that 
from their hands he received the last offices of 

* See Buraet's Own Times^ in the account of the death of 
Charles II. 




Address of the Bishops to King James on his Accession — his Coro- 
nation by Archbishop Sancroft — Articles for the Regulation of 
Ordinations and Institutions, SfC, — King James's Endeavours 
to silence the Clergy — Ecclesiastical Commission — the Arch- 
bishop's Refusal to sit in it — Reasons for this Refusal and Ef- 
fids of it — Letter to the King respecting Preferments — Oppo- 
sition as a Governor of the Charterhouse to the Dispensing 
Power — Letters from and to Mary^ Princess of Orange, 

The day after the demise of Charles, and the 
accession of James to the throne, February 7, 
168^, Archbishop Sancroft, accompanied by as 
many of the bishops as happened to be then in 
London, waited on the new king, and addressed 
him in the following terms. The presentation 
of an address from this quarter at so early a 
period after the accession of a new monarch 
seems to have been unusual. The Archbishop 
probably intended, by this early and warm 
expression of gratitude on the part of the 
church for his gracious promises of favour and 
support to it made in his first speech to the 


privy council, to recall them to his recollection, 
and to fix him to the performance of them. 
It is curious to compare the expressions of 
goodwill to the Protestant church used by- 
James on his accession, and the hopes thereby 
excited in the members of the church, with the 
events which afterwards took place. 

Address* of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the 
Bishops to King James the Second on his Ac- 

" May it please Your Majesty, 

" We are here this morning (the few 
bishops that are about the town) with design 
to throw ourselves at your Majesty's feet; and 
there, in the names of ourselves and our 
brethren, and the whole state of the clergy of 
the realm, to profess our duty and our loyalty 
to your Majesty, your heirs and successors. 
Sir, it hath been accounted the distinctive cha- 
racter of the established church, it is her glory 
and her holy boast, that she hath been always 
loyal to her kings, even in the greatest trials ; 
and she esteems it one of her greatest honours, 
that your Majesty hath oftentimes of late pub- 
licly declared and acknowledged it. And we 

* See Appendix to Letters of Henry Earl of Clarendon, 
¥. ii. p. 276. 



humbly desire your Majesty to be assured that 
we will make it the endeavour of our lives to 
make good the fair opinion you have been 
pleased to express concerning us, in all the in- 
stances of our duty, how costly or how hazard- 
ous soever they may prove to us^ 

*' Sir, when we came first within the 
prospect (the sad prospect) of what befel us 
yesterday in the morning, we could not but 
think, that, at such a time as this is, we should 
have had much, very much, to ask of your Ma- 
jesty, and to beg it upon our knees with the 
same earnestness with which we would petition 
for our lives, if they were all in question : but 
your Majesty's great and unexampled goodness 
hath prevented us. In that most auspicious 
moment in which you first sat down in the 
chair, to which God and your right have ad- 
vanced you, you were pleased in our favour to 
make that admirable declaration, which we 
ought to write down in letters of gold, and en- 
grave in marble. However, we shall treasure it 
up in our hearts as the greatest foundation of 
comfort, which this world can afford us in our 
present condition. So that we have nothing to 
ask your Majesty, but that you would be (what 
you have always been observed to be) yourself; 
that is, generous and just and true to all you 
once declare ; nor any thing to tender in return 

VOL. I. p 


to your Majesty, but our most humble thanks, 
with our hearts and affections, our lives and 
fortunes, together with our ardent prayers to 
Almighty God (which shall never be wanting), 
that he would make the rest of your Majesty's 
reign happy and prosperous, and suitable to 
these glorious beginnings; and at last crown 
your Majesty with his own glory in the world 
that is to come." 

The Archbishop officiated at the ceremony of 
the coronation of James II.; and the fact of his 
placing with his own hands the crown on the 
head of this monarch seems to have greatly 
contributed to bind his attachment to him as 
his only lawful sovereign, and to confirm him 
in the steady refusal to transfer, under the sub- 
sequent change, his allegiance to another. One 
remarkable deviation from established usage 
took place at the coronation of James II.; in 
the omission of the administration of the Holy 
Communion* according to the rites of the 
church of England. This omission was of 

* In Bishop Tanner's Papers^ v. 31. p. 91. are Archbishop 
Sancroft's private memoranda respecting the coronation of 
James the Second. Referring to the part of the service where 
the communion is usually administered^ he says^ " Now the 
king and queen being crowned^ the archbishop should immedi- 
ately begin the communion : but^ there being no communum, here 
follow the final prayers." 


course made, if not by the express direction, at 
least, in conformity with the known wishes of 
the king, who, as a Papist, had conscientious 
objections to receiving the sacrament according 
to those rites. It was alleged by some persons 
that the archbishop departed from the line of 
conduct which became him, when he consented 
to perform the ceremony with such an important 
omission. Undoubtedly, it may be allowed, 
that he would have acted more in consistency 
with that striking feature in his character of 
rigid and unbending firmness, had he peremp- 
torily insisted on performing the whole cere- 
mony without any such omission, if he per- 
formed it at all. At the same time, it may be 
reasonably doubted whether, on a sound view 
of the case, this refusal would have been justi- 
fiable. James was an avowed Papist; a fact 
which implied a conscientious objection to re- 
ceive the communion according to the rites of the 
church of England ; and parliament, by refusing 
to exclude him from the succession, although 
he was an avowed Papist, had for the time 
sanctioned the principle that a Papist might sit 
on the throne. It might, therefore, be said to 
have indirectly consented, that the coronation 
ceremony should be performed in such a manner 
as a Papist could conscientiously comply with. 
Add to this, if the primate had refused to per- 
form the ceremony with the omission which 



circumstances rendered necessary , it might have 
been expected that the other bishops would do 
the same; . and thus, the singular case would 
have occurred of the heads of the church refus- 
ing to crown a sovereign whom the legislature 
acknowledged. It has been stated,* however, 
that Archbishop Sancroft afterwards reproached 

* See Salmon*s Lives of English Bishops, p. 96. He refers 
for this assertion to a note in Kennett's History of England^ 
which, however, is not to he found according to his reference* 
The following is the letter of King James to the Archhishop, 
requiring his attendance at the coronation, and his performance 
of the duties which belonged to him. The terms in which it is 
expressed show that it would have been, to say the least, a very 
ungracious act in the archbishop to refuse officiating in the cere- 

'* Jambs R. 

'* Most reverend Father in God, we greet you well. 
Whereas we have appointed the 23d day of April next for the 
solemnity of our and our royal consort the queen*s coronation : 
These are therefcH^ to will and command you, all excuses set 
apart, that you make your personal attendance on us, at the 
time abovementioned, to do and perform such services as shall 
be required and belong unto you. And we do further require 
you to send forthwith circular letters to the respective bishops 
of your province, enjoining them to attend us at the same time, 
whereof you and they are not to fail. And so we bid you very 
hearty farewell. Given at our Court at Whitehall, the 23d day 
of March, 1 68|, in the first year of our reign. 

'* To the Most Reverend Father in God, 
" fPtlUam Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, 
*' Primate of all England and Metropoiitan." 

See Registr. Sancroft, fol. 337. 


himself for consenting to this omission, and 
that the circumstance lay heavy on his spirits. 
In 1685, the subject of the ordination of mi- 
nisters of the church, in strict conformity with 
what was required by the canons, again drew 
the attention of Archbishop Sancroft. He 
summoned a meeting of some of the bishops of 
his province at Lambeth Palace, and the follow- 
ing excellent resolutions were agreed upon, to 
be adopted in their own practice, and to be re- 
commended for adoption to the other bishops, 
for the combined purposes of enforcing a more 
careful selection of persons for the ministry, and 
a more strict adherence to the canons of the 
church, as to the age at which ordination was 
conferred, the seasons of the year for ordaining, 
and other similar particulars. 

Articles* for the better Regulation of Ordinations 
and Institutions and other admissions to Cure of 
SoulSy into which much abuse and uncananical 
practices have lately crept. 

It is agreed by and between the Archbishop 
and Bishops of the province of Canterbury, and 
they do hereby mutually and solemnly promise 
for themselves respectively to one another as 

I. That they will henceforth ordain no man 

* See Wilkini's Concilia M. Brit. Archiep. Saocioft. 



deacon, except he be twenty- three years old, 
unless he have a faculty ; which the archbishop 
declares he will not grant, but upon very urgent 
occasion ; nor priest, unless he be full and com- 
plete twenty-four years old, as it is indispens- 
ably required in the preface to the book of or- 
dination ; nor unless the canonical age be either 
by an extract out of the register book of the 
parish, where the person to be ordained was 
born, under the hands of the minister and 
churchwardens there, or if no registers be kept 
or found there, by some other means sufficiently 

II. That they will not admit or institute any 
person who hath been formerly ordained, to 
cure of souls, unless it appear by a like testimo- 
nial, that when he was ordained he was of ca- 
nonical age; none but those who are so or- 
dained being by the late act of uniformity and 
the statute 13 Eliz. c. xii. ^ 5. capable to be 
admitted to any benefice with cure. 

III. That they will ordain no man deacon or 
priest, who hath not taken some degree of 
school in one of the universities of this realm; 
unless the archbishop, in some extraordinary 
case, and upon the express desire and request 
of the bishop ordaining, shall think fit to dis- 
pense with this particular, the person so to be 
dispensed with, being in all things else qualified, 
as the said thirty-fourth canon requires. 


IV. That they will ordain none but such as 
either have lived within their respective dioceses 
for the three years last past, and are^ upon their 
own personal knowledge, or by the testimony 
of three of the neighbouring ministers whom 
they think fit to rely upon, found to be worthy 
of what they pretend to, or else do exhibit suf- 
ficient and authentic testimony thereof from the 
bishop, or bishops, within whose jurisdiction 
they have resided for the last three years, or 
from some college in one of the universities in 
which they are or lately have been gremials ; 
to the end that there may be (by one or more of 
these methods) sufficient moral assurance to the 
bishop, by competent witnesses, of the good 
life and conversation of the persons to be or- 
dained ; for full three years last past as the said 
canon requires. And the archbishop does de- 
clare, that he will not give any man, beneficed 
in one diocese, a faculty to take and hold a be- 
nefice in another, unless the bishop, in whose 
diocese he is already beneficed, doth give him 
a fair dimission and testimony, together with 
his express consent to that very purpose. 

V. That they will admit none to holy orders 
but such as are presented to some ecclesiastical 
preferment then void in that diocese, or have 
some other title specified and allowed in the 
thirty-third canon; among which a curacy 
under a parson or vicar, during his pleasure, is 



not to be accounted to be one, unless that par- 
son or vicar doth, under his fiand and seal, and 
before witnesses, oblige himself to the bishop 
both to accept that person '* bona fide" (when 
he shall be ordained and licensed by the bishop) 
to serve under him, and assist him, and also to 
allow him such salary as the bishops shall ap- 
prove of, so long as he shall continue doing his 
duty there ; and, lastly, not to put him out of 
that employment, but for reasons to be allowed 
by the bishop. 

VI. That they will ordain no man, who hath 
a title allowed by the canon, if the benefice to 
which that title relates lie within another dio- 
cese, except he exhibit letters dimissory from 
the bishop, in whose diocese his title and em- 
ployment is. 

VII. That they will ordain no man but upon 
the Lord's days, immediately following the 
*' jejunia quatuor temporum," except he have a 
faculty to be ordained " extra tempora ;" ajid 
such a faculty the archbishop declares he will 
not grant, but upon very urgent occasion, as 
(for instance) if one who is not in full orders be 
presented to some benefice ; for of it, since the 
last act of uniformity, he is not capable, till he 
be ordained priest, 

VIII. That they will ordain no man (of what 
qualities or gifts soever) both deacon and priest 
in one day ; nor any man priest, until he shall 


have continued in the office of a deacon the 
space of a whole year, and behaved himself 
faithfully and diligently in the same. And if, 
upon urgent occasion, it shall, for reasonable 
causes, seem good unto the bishop to shorten 
that time, yet, even in that case, there being 
four times of ordination in the year, he shall 
give the deacon s order in the end of one Ember 
week ; and (if the case may bear that delay) 
the priest's order not till the next ensuing ; or, 
in the utmost necessity, not till the Sunday, or 
holiday next following ; and that too not with- 
out a faculty. But in the same day none shall 
be made both deacon and priest, that some 
decent shadow, at least, or footstep of so ancient 
and laudable a practice may be retained and 
observed amongst us. 

IX. That they will ordain none but such as 
shall, a full month before the day of ordination, 
bring or send to the bishop notice in writing of 
their desire to enter into holy orders, together 
with such certificate of their age, and such tes- 
timonials of their behaviour and conversation 
as are above required; to the end that the 
bishop may (if he think fit) make further inquiry 
into all particulars, and also give open moni- 
tions to all men to except against such as they 
may perhaps know not to be worthy, as it is 
expressly required by that excellent canon 
1564, and may be performed, as otherwise, sa 


generally by affixing a schedule of the names 
of the candidates upon the jdoors of the cathe- 
dral, for as long time before as they are given 
in : nor any but such as shall also repair per- 
sonally to the bishop in the beginning of the 
Ember week, or on Thursday in that week at 
the latest, to the end that there may be time 
for the strict and careful examination of every 
person so to be ordained, both by the arch- 
deacon, and by the bishop himself, and such 
other as shall assist him at the imposition of 
hands, or he shall think fit to employ herein ; 
and that they may also be present in the cathe- 
dral, and observe the solemn fast, and join in 
the solemn prayers, which are at that time to 
be put up to God in their behalf. 

X. Lastly, That some time in the week, after 
every ordination, whether ** intra" or ** extra 
tempora," the bishop ordaining shall send a 
certificate under his hand and seal, attested by 
the archdeacon, and such other clergymen as 
assisted at the ordination, containing the names 
and surnames of all the persons then ordained, 
the place of their birth, their age, the college 
where they were educated, with the degree 
they have taken in the university, the title upon 
which they are ordained, and upon whose let- 
ters dimissory, if they came out of another 
diocese ; to which shall be subjoined a particu- 
lar account of all such as then offisred them- 


selves to ordination^ and were refused ; as also 
of the reasons for which the bishop refused 
them. All which the archbishop doth under- 
take, and promise to cause to be entered into 
a leger book for that purpose, to the end that 
it may be, as it were " ecclesial matricula" for 
this province. 

W. Cant. 
W. Asaph. William Norwich. 

Fran. Ely. 

Tho. Bath et Wells. 

But our attention must now be turned to the 
state of public affairs, in which the interests of 
the church were materially concerned. Not- 
withstanding King James's professions on as- 
cending the throne, he soon gave no equivocal 
proofs of his designs against the Protestant re- 
ligion, by surrounding himself with Popish 
counsellors, and pursuing a course of measures, 
the tendency of which could not be mistaken. 
The Protestant clergy, excited by the tone of 
increased confidence which the Papists assumed, 
and the eagerness with which they endeavoured 
to propagate their tenets, naturally felt it their 
duty to augment their exertions in justifying, 
in their public discourses, the great principles 
of the Reformation, in pointing out in forcible 
terms the errors of the Roman Catholic Church, 
and in defending their own faith at those points 


at which it was most violently assailed. The 
effect of this zeal and activity on the part of the 
clergy of the Established Church was felt by 
the Papists as a powerful obstacle to the ac* 
complishment of their hopes; and some mea- 
sure appeared necessary to restrain them in 
the course which they were thus actively 
pursuing. With this view, James published 
directions* to the archbishops, to be through 
them conveyed to the clergy, " to prohibit their 
preaching on controversial points." The pre- 
tended object was to allay the heats and ani- 
mosities which prevailed among Christians of 
diflferent sects; but the real design was too 
plain to be mistaken, that of silencing the Pro- 
testant clergy, in order that the active zeal of 
the Roman Catholics might have free scope for 
producing its effect. 

But the ministers of the Established Church 
were not to be restrained from doing their duty 
on points where conscientious feeling was so 
deeply concerned, by authority to which, in 
such a matter, they could not defer. In pro- 
portion as they saw the designs against their 
religion gradually developed, and assuming a 

* Bearing date, March 25, 168^. See Kennett's History, 
V. iii. p. 454. These directions had been before published by 
Charles II. at the beginning of his reign, with the real design 
of calming the violent religious heats which then prevailed. 
They were now adopted by James with a very differeni design. 


less doubtfiil character, they redoubled their 
activity in endeavouring to fix deeply on the 
minds of their congregations principles of firm 
attachment to the Protestant cause. No per 
riod, in fact, has occurred since the Reforma- 
tion, in which the learning and talents of emi- 
nent members of the church have been more 
zealously employed in justifying the grounds on 
which it stands, and in defending its doctrines 
and discipline against the Papists. The dis- 
courses and other writings, which were then 
composed, form collectively perhaps the most 
powerful bulwark against those adversaries^ 
which has ever been produced. 

King James, however, was not to be turned 
from his purpose by ordinary obstacles. Find- 
ing that his directions to the clergy failed in the 
designed effect of inducing them to forego the 
defence of their religion, he had recourse, in the 
early part of 1686, to a powerful engine for re- 
ducing them to subjection and obedience ; viz. 
the establishment of a Commission for the pur- 
pose of inquiring into, and punishing, ecclesias- 
tical offences. The powers given to the mem- 
bers of this Commission were of the most formi- 
dable character; they could summon before 
them persons of any rank in the church, could 
proceed upon mere suspicion, could punish by 
suspension, privation, and excommunication; 
and they were authorized to execute diligently 


their office, '* notwithstanding any laws or 
statutes of the realm." 

The appointment of this Commission was 
generally felt to be a direct attack on the liber- 
ties of the country, and an illegal assumption of 
authority on the part of the crown. The im- 
mediate design too with which it was ap- 
pointed, that of intimidating and humbling the 
Protestant clergy, was too clear to be mistaken. 
It is true that the power of delegating eccle- 
siastical authority to commissioners, had been 
exercised by the first Protestant sovereigns of 
England, and had been sanctioned by an ex- 
press statute in the beginning of Queen Eliza- 
beth's reign ; yet the exercise of it had been 
conducted with so much severity, and bad 
given rise to so many arbitrary exactions, that 
an express repeal of this statute was enacted, 
in the 17th of Charles I. In this repealing act, 
it was declared, that the clause empowering the 
sovereign to commission any persons to exer- 
cise ecclesiastical jurisdiction should be void 
for ever, and that no new court pretending to 
such jurisdiction should ever be established. 

In order to lull the suspicions of the people 
respecting the design vsrith which the commis- 
sion was instituted, and to diminish the un- 
popularity of the measure, James named as 
commissioners three prelates of the church, 
the Archbishop of Canterbury; Crew, Bishop 


of Durham, and Sprat, Bishop of Rochester: 
but, on the other hand, among the four lay- 
commissioners some, it is stated, were Roman 
Catholics; and, what was most important to 
his views, Jeffreys, then Lord Chancellor, was 
one of them, whose consent was made abso- 
lutely necessary to render valid any act of the 

The Archbishop of Canterbury, without hesi- 
tation, declined to act in this commission. He 
alleged, as his nominal plea, his great age and 
infirmities; but there cannot be the slightest 
doubt that his real objection was to the measure 
itself, and that he spurned at the idea of being 
made a tool for assisting in the purposes 
which the measure was intended to promote. 
He deemed it, however, preferable, on various 
grounds, to suffer his real motives to be in- 
ferred by the king, than directly to express 

The following are the terms of his petition 
to the king, in which he declined the appoint- 

" To THE King's most excellent Majesty, 

" The humble Petition of William, Archbishop 

" of Canterbury, 
" Showeth, — That your petitioner hath now 

* Sec Appendix to Clarendon*s Diary, from Tanner's Papers. 


almost completed the threescore and tenth yedr 
of his life; that the infirmities which usually 
attend so great an age are already (and grow 
daily more and more) upon him ; that the afiairs 
of the church within the province of Canter- 
bury are so many and so great, that they re- 
quire all the application and diligence which 
any one person (though of better health, and 
greater vigour of body and mind than your pe- 
titioner is,) can possibly use : your petitioner, 
therefore, with the most profound submission, 
throwing himself down at your Majesty's feet, 
most humbly and earnestly beseecheth your 
Majesty, that you would be pleased graciously 
to dispense with his attendance upon the exe- 
cution of your late commission for causes 
ecclesiastical, in which so many great and able 
persons are engaged ; to the end he may the 
better mind those things which belong to his 
single care, and have the more leisure, without 
obstruction, as to bless God for this your royal 
indulgence, so also to pray continually for all 
the blessings of heaven to be showered down 
upon your royal person, family and govern- 

Bishop Burnet, ever eager to seize every 
opportunity of throwing out invidious insinua- 
tions against Archbishop Sancroft, instead of 


giving him credit for refusing to be ftiade a tool 
on this occasion in furthering the purposes of 
the king and the party which surrounded him, 
blames him for not having, acted with all the 
energy and spirit which became him. He says 
*' Bancroft lay silent at Lambeth. He seemed 
zealous against popery in private discourse, 
but he was of such a timorous temper, and so 
set on the enriching his nephew, that he showed 
no sort of courage. He would not go to this 
court when it was first opened, and declare 
against it, and give his reasons why he could 
not sit and act in it, judging it to be against 
law, but he contented himself with his not 
going to it*"* 

Here, in the first place, it is clear that Bur- 
net was misinformed as to the fact. The Arch- 
bishop did not content himself with not going 
to the Commission court ; but he addressed, as 
We have seen, a petition to the king, excusing 
himself in respectful terms, on the ground of 
age and infirmities: thereby expressing, in 
terms not to be misunderstood by the king, his 
opinion of the Commission itself, and his clear 
disapprobation of the course of measures which 
it was intended to further. Whether it would 
have been more consistent with true cou- 

* Burnet's Own Times, ii. 676, 
VOL. I. Q 


rage and wisdom, to repair to the CommissioD 
court and openly protest against it, as Burnet 
. intimates he ought to have done, may admit of 
considerable doubt. The Archbishop probably 
thought, and wisely thought, that it is no light 
matter for a person in his station to set an 
example to the world of public and open oppo- 
sition to the authority of his lawful sovereign; 
because what might be intended for good in 
this individual instance might be turned to pur- 
poses of evil by others, who would be ready to 
quote and to follow his example. He pro- 
bably felt, that the necessity of the case ought 
fully to justify and to call for so strong a mea- 
sure, before it was resorted to ; and he hoped, 
no doubt, at this time, that the king was not 
so entirely given over to infatuated counsels, as 
to make avowed opposition absolutely neces- 
sary to turn him from them. If such was then 
his feeling and such his hope, it was clearly the 
line dictated by duty and by prudence, rather 
to signify his disapprobation in the manner he 
did, than publicly to declare it. As to the in- 
sinuations respecting his timorous nature, and 
his want of courage, his subsequent conduct in 
firmly opposing the attempts of the king s^^ainst 
the civil and religious Uberties of the nation, 
when his perseverance in evil counsels made 
such opposition absolutely necessary, must, in 


the judgment of every impartial person, fully 
exempt him from such a charge, and ought to 
have exempted him from the illiberal imputa- 
tion of it. The assertion of his having been 
too much engaged in attending to the private 
emoluments of his family, to take the part 
which became him in the line of his public du- 
ties, may be safely considered as the mere effu- 
sion of spleen and ill-humour. 

It sufficiently appears, from Archbishop Ban- 
croft s papers,* that he did not lightly come to 
a decision on this important matter; but that, 
as was his habit on all occasions, he took great 
pains to form a correct opinion, by inquiring 
into the state of the law, perusing with atten- 
tion all that was to be urged on both sides of 
the question, and noting the arguments and ob- 
servations which occurred to himself. Copious 
collections relating to this subject are still *ex- 
tant, written with his own hand, containing, as 
appears, partly the statements and opinions of 
others, and partly his own. He considers that 
there were two points which concerned the line 
of conduct he should take, first, whether a sub- 
ject was compellible generally to serve even in 
a lavirful matter without his free consent; and 
secondly, whether this Commission court was 

* See Tann. MSS. y. 460. 


iawM or unlawful. — ^The following is a spe- 
cimen of the manner in which he discusses it. 
After stating, generally, the right of the state 
to the services of the subject, and after men- 
tioning a case in which Coke and other judges 
refused to sit in the high Commission court, be- 
cause it contained points against the laws, he 
proceeds — * 

'* But even in lawful commissions granted 
for the public good, who can tell me of any 
that ever was punished for refusing to be judge, 
sergeant at law, justice of peace, &c., or so 
much as questioned ? Suppose a Commission 
of seven ; any three, A being one of them ; if A 
sits not, he is punishable, because it would 
cause a failure of justice, which the law abhors. 
But, if A sits, and any two with him, the pro- 
ceedings are not retarded, the Commission may 
be executed, and the neglecters not punishable. 
And this Coke pleaded for his refusing to sit in 
the high commission (inter alia) because there 
were other judges and commissioners enough 
to speed it. 

** Now he that gives Coke's reason for not 
sitting in the present high Commission (that is, 
because it is unlawful,) pleads to the jurisdic- 
tion of the court; which is a ticklish thing. 

♦ Sec Tana. MSS. t. 460. p. 149. 


For he will be ovemiled, and at last pronounced 
contumax, and all alleged against him will be 
taken pro confesso. Notwithstanding, the ques- 
tion remains, whether the new court be lawful 
or no. It seems not, because the statute 17 Ch. 
I. not only takes away the then high Commis- 
sion court, but also prohibits for the future any 
•new court to be erected with the like powers 
and authorities. Now the powers granted by 
this new Commission are the same which the 
former commissioners had, by virtue of the 
statute 1 Eliz. c. 1.; and by consequence the 
exercise of them is illegal, and all acts, sen- 
tences and decrees thereupon, utterly void, and 
of no eflfect in law." 

A substitute for the Archbishop of Canter- 
,bury in the Commission was readily found in 
Cartwright, Bishop of Chester, a mere tool of 
the court. It is suspected, and not without 
reason, that, after the Archbishop's refusal to 
act, the king and his advisers had doubts as to 
the expediency of persevering in the measure. 
Certain it is, that, although the Commission 
court was appointed as early in the year as the 
beginning of April,* it was not called into action 
till the following August. At that time, the 
temper and spirit in which its proceedings were 

* Kcnnctt*9 HiBtoi^, v. iii. p. 456. . 



conducted were shown to be of such a niature 
as to justify, to the fullest extent, the propriety 
of the Archbishop's conduct in refusing abso- 
lutely to have any concern in it. 

The instance in which the Commission was 
first brought into action, is the well-known case 
of Compton, Bishop of London.* The king, in 
his anxiety to suppress the activity of the 
clergy in directing their discourses at this pe- 
culiar juncture against the errors of popery, 
had required the bishop to suspend Dr. J. 
Sharp, t Rector of St. Giles's, an able and po- 
pular preacher, for having preached in defence 
of the Protestant cause, and in opposition to 
popery, in a manner which was interpreted into 
an endeavour " to beget in the minds of his 
hearers an ill opinion of the king's government, 
to dispose them to discontent, and lead them to 
rebellion." On the bishop's refusing to do so, 
on the ground that he could not conscientiously 

* Hume, in relating these events, speaks of the Ecclesiasti- 
cal Commission, as an expedient employed for the purpose of 
punishing the Bishop of London ; as if it was instituted after 
the commission of his offences. But the fact is, that the com- 
mission court was established, as has here been stated, in the 
beginning of April, for the general purpose of enforcing the 
pleasures of the king ; while the king*s letter to the Bishop of 
London respecting Dr. Sharp, which led to the proceedings 
against him, is dated on the 14th of the following June. 

* Afterwards ArchbishopT of York. 


condemn and punish any individual without 
citation and regular process of law, he was 
summoned before the Commission to answer for 
this offence of contempt of the king's authority. 
He at first pleaded against the jurisdiction of 
the court; and, on this plea being overruled, 
defended himself against the charge of con- 
tempt by showing, that he really did comply 
with the king's inpnction as far as he legally 
and conscientiously could ; for he immediately 
desired Dr. Sharp to desist from preaching 
altogether till the legal inquiry into his conduct 
could take place. But all was to no purpose 
when the determination was already formed to 
strike terror into the clergy by punishing one 
in «o eminent a station. A sentence of the 
court passed, by which the bishop was sus- 
pended -from all his episcopal functions and ju- 

An dpinion generally prevailed, that there 
existed an intention of citing the Archbishop 
of Canterbury before the ecclesiastical Commis- 
sion; and when it is considered that the direct 
object of the court was to proceed by intimida- 
tion, and that the Archbishop, by declining to 
sit in the Commission, must have given great 
offence to the king and his advisers, it is highly 
probable that there was some foundation for 
the rumotir. What pretence of a charge was 



to be alleged against him, has never been 
stated; but experience has always shown that, 
when arbitrary power is bent on pursuing its 
measures, it is never long at a loss for a pre- 
tence on which those measures may be founded. 
It is certain that the Archbishop himself ex- 
pected to be cited before the Commission. 
With a view to this, he kept a paper by him 
ready drawn up, protesting against the juris- 
diction of the court. It is known that he dis- 
approved of the course taken by the Bishop of 
London, who, after his plea against the juris- 
diction of the court was overruled, pleaded to 
the charges brought against him, and thereby, 
in effect, allowed the authority of the court. 
The Archbishop's intention was first to protest 
against the legality of the court ; then to refuse 
to answer before it to the charges brought against 
him; and afterwards to defend himself at com- 
mon law against any sentence which might be 
passed. It has been stated, that it was gene- 
rally known that such was the course the Arch- 
bishop intended to pursue ; and that the fear of 
the consequence of this proceeding was the 
reason for which he was not cited. 

Sprat, Bishop of Rochester, who at first 
sat as one of the commissioners, but after- 
wards declined, and, subsequently to the Revo- 
lution, published an apology for his conduct,. 



states, that among other eminent instances in 
which he successfully laboured to relieve the 
clergy from oppression, is " one which concerns 
my Lord of Canterbury." He says, I am con- 
fident his grace would bear testimony that I 
served him honestly and industriously on some 
occasions, " when he was likely to be embroiled 
with the Commission; which, from the course 
he designed to pursue, would inevitably have 
ended in his suspension at least." From* the 
expression here used, it would seem that the 
Commission court advanced beyond the vague 
disposition to attack the Archbishop, and that 
some ground of process against him was either 
begun or determined on; at least, that some 
intimations of the intention were openly made. 
All that is certain is, that no steps were aC' 
tually taken, and that the Archbishop never was 
summoned to appear before them. 

This refusal of Archbishop Sancroft to sit in 
the ecclesiastical Commission appears to have 
given great offence to James, having been well 
understood by him in the sense which it was 
intended to convey. It is stated* that, from 
about this period, he was forbidden to appear at 
court. It is remarkable, however, that in the 

* See the account of the presentation of the Bishop*8 peti- 
tion in Archhishop Saucruft's hand writing. — Tann. MSS. v. 28. 


month of July in this year, we find him writing 
a letter to the king on the subject of the ap- 
pointment to some vacant ecclesiastical prefer- 
ments. It appears that he had received his 
Majesty's command some time before, to give 
his opinion as to these appointments. Pro- 
bably this command had been conveyed to him 
before he had forfeited to so great a degree the 
royal £stvour, by refusing to act in tlie Commis- 
sion. But, as he could not be otherwise than 
aware that, under the counsels to which the 
king was now devoted, there was great danger 
of his nominating persons most unworthy of 
these eminent stations, and whose appointment 
would be niost injurious to the church, he 
deemed it his duty to make the recommenda- 
tion of proper persons, although he could en- 
tertain but small hope that, under the cir- 
cumstances, his recommendation would avail. 
The letter* which he addressed to the king on 
the subject was expressed in the following 

July 29th, 1686. 

" May it please your sacred Majesty, 

" When last I had the happiness to 
attend upon your Majesty, you were most gra- 
ciously pleased so far to descend as to demand 

* Sec Tann. MSS. v. 30. 20. 69. 


the advice of your poor servant for the filling 
of three vacancies now in the church, and to 
allow me time to consider of it. I would not 
have presumed to have given my answer other- 
wisie than at the feet of my sovereign lord, had 
not my age and infirmities, some of which are 
come upon me even since I was last at Hamp- 
ton Court, disabled me for the journey. As it 
is, with all humility, I beg your Majesty's par- 
don that I take the boldness to represent as 
followeth. The episcopal chair of Oxford will 
be most decently and worthily filled with that 
person whom your Majesty mentioned. Dr. 
South. His merit is every way so great, that 
I have nothing to wish but Aat Hie revenue of 
the place were as worthy of him as he is of the 
place. But your Majesty may, if you please, 
supply that defect by what you shall allow him 
to hold with it in commendam. For Christ's 
Church, it is a most flourishing society, and 
hath bred vast numbers of worthy persons fit 
for any station in the church; but I am a 
stranger there, and yet, I will be bold to say, 
with some confidence, that there are not in 
that great multitude two more excellent per- 
Bons better qualified to supply any vacancy 
there than Dr. Hody of Lambeth, and Mr" 
Wigan of Kensington. To the bishopric of 
Chester, I dare recommend to your Majesty 


him whom I formerly commended (as your 
Majesty may remember) to the see of St. 
David's ; for I have not a worse opinion of him 
than I had, but a better. My Lord High 
Chancellor, were he not over-generous, might 
have done this oflSce decently enough, as I do it, 
who present the person to your Majesty, as Dr. 
Jeffreys, a very worthy clergyman, not as my 
Lord Chancellor s brother. Yet one thing, I 
trust, my Lord will not refuse to do for him. 
The diocese is very large, and the yearly in- 
come but narrow, without the parsonage of 
Wigan ; and that hangs so loose from it that the 
trustees may give it to whom they please. But 
I doubt not,4iis lordship's powerful hand may 
fix it and secure it to the bishop. 

" And now let not my sovereign be dis- 
pleased, nor count me over bold, and I will ad- 
venture one step further. A petition for the 
founding and endowing of your Majesty's 
school, and establishing a course of perpetual 
public prayers there, (wherein your Majesty's 
royal person, family and government will be 
morning and evening recommended to the bles- 
sings of heaven,) at Harlston in Norfolk, was 
sometime since presented to your Majesty. 
The matter of it, I am secure, is both just and 
charitable, and the manner of it, I hope, not 
imn^odest. I beseech you, Sir, pronounce your 


final resolution upon it, which cannot displease 
or grieve me whatever it may be : for I shall 
rather love a denial from your Majesty, than a 
grant from my fellow subject : being, as 

" I am, 


" May it please your Majesty, 
" Your most humble, faithful, and obedient 

" Subject and Servant, 

'' W. Cant." 

It will not be deemed surprising that King 
James, under his existing views and designs, 
instead of accepting the Archbishop's recom- 
mendation of persons qualified to adorn these 
stations, should rather place in them those who 
were likely to be convenient tools in forwarding 
his purposes adverse to the interests of the 
Protestant church. The individuals appointed 
to fill the bishoprics were, Parker to that . of 
Oxford, and Cartwright to that of Chester, 
Bishop Burnet says, that they were the two 
worst men that could be selected, and that they 
were pitched upon as the fittest instruments 
that could be found among the clergy to betray 
and ruin the church. All historians agree that 
they were pei:sons rather calculated to degrade 
the situations, than to fill them with credit; 
and it was fully proved, during the subsequent 
events, that they were prepared to support to 


any extent the designs of the court against the 
church. So unpopular were these appoint- 
ments, that an intention seems to have existed 
at one time, on the part of the leading persons 
in the church, of endeavouring to prevent their 
taking effect. Bishop Burnet states, that ' ' some 
of the bishops brought to Archbishop Sancroft 
articles against them, which they desired he 
would oflfer to the king in council, and pray 
that the mandate for consecrating them might 
be delayed till time was given to examine par- 
ticulars." He adds that Bishop Lloyd told him 
" that Sancroft promised him not to consecrate 
them till he had examined the truth of the 
articles, of which some were too scandalous to 
be repeated. Yet, when Sancroft saw what 
danger he might incur, if he were sued in a 
premunire, he consented to consecrate them." 

As we have no knowledge of this transaction 
from any other source, we have no means of 
ascertaining what really did take place; and 
whether Archbishop Sancroft deemed the arti- 
cles of sufficient importance to be laid before 
the king in council. It is probable that there is 
some mistake in the assertion of his having 
promised not to consecrate till he had examined 
the truth of the articles; for this would have 
been nothing less than to assume to himself a 
negative on the appointment of the crown ; and 


it must have been well known to him that a 
legal process would at once compel him to obey 
the mandate for the consecrd.tion. The two 
new bishops were consecrated in the chapel at 
Lambeth Palace on the 17th October. 

The appointment made by the king to the 
deanery of Christchurch was of a still worse 
description. The person nominated was John 
Massey, a Papist; and, what does not appear 
to have been known at the time, the king 
granted a dispensation to enable him to be ad- 
mitted to the deanery without taking the 

An instance occurred soon after, in which 
Archbishop Sancroft felt himself called upon, 
on a less public and important occasion than 
that in which he afterwards acted, to unite with 
other leading persons in opposing the dispensing 
power illegally assumed by James. 

A letter!* was addressed by the king to the 
governors of the Charterhouse, requiring them 
to admit one Andrew Popham to the situation 
of a pensioner in that hospital, on his nomina- 
tion, ** without tendering any oath or oaths to 
him or requiring of him any subscription or 

* See Tann. MSS. t. 460. No. 99. and Gutch's Miscell. 
Cnriosa, t. i. p. 294. 

t See an account of proceedings at the Charterhouse, sup- 
fosed to be written by Dr. Burnet. 


recognition or other act or acts in conformity 
to the doctrine and discipline of the church of 
England — and notwithstanding any statute, 
order, or constitution in the said hospital." 

This letter, bearing date 17 th December, was 
referred to a meeting of the governors on the 
7 th of the following January, when the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury presided. The Lord 
Chancellor Jeffreys moved that they should im- 
mediately proceed to vote for the admission: 
On this. Dr. T. Burnet, then Master of the 
Charterhouse, who was to give the first vote, 
explained to the meeting that to admit a person 
without taking the oaths was contrary both to 
the constitutions of the house and to an express 
act of parliament. The question was then put 
and carried in the negative. 

As soon as this was decided, the Lord Chan- 
cellor, and those who were disappointed by this 
vote, flung themselves suddenly away, so that 
there were not sufficient left to transact the 
business ; otherwise it was the wish of those 
governors who refused to comply with the 
king's letter, to draw up immediately an an- 
swer to it. The king afterwards sent them a 
second letter on the subject. The Archbishop 
of Canterbury tried several times to collect 
another meeting, but did not succeed till the 
24th of June; when a letter was agreed upon 


to be addressed to the Earl of Middleton, 
Secretary of State, who should convey the 
matter of it to the king. In this, after reciting 
the purport of the two letters they had re- 
ceived from the king, they proceed — ' Which 
letters were received with the respect due to 
whatsoever cometh from his Majesty. And it 
hath not been any fault of ours, that an answer 
hath not been sooner returned ; several assem- 
blies having been appointed in order to it, but 
there were not, at those times, so many go- 
vernors in or about town in a condition to at- 
tend, as would make up the number directed 
by the constitutions. We could not till now 
acquaint your lordship that, upon debate of the 
aforesaid letters, it is agreed to represent, in 
the most humble manner, to his Majesty, by 
your lordship's means and through your hands, 
that we apprehend ourselves to be tied up, and 
to lie under such strict obligations, that we are 
not at liberty to comply with what is required 
of us, for these reasons : 

** That the said hospital is of a private 
foundation, and the governors obliged to act 
according to the constitutions of the same; 

" That, by an act of parliament made 
in the 3rd year of Charles I. of blessed memory, 
it is enacted, that every poor man to be elected 
and admitted into the said hospital shall, be- 

VOL. I. R 


fore he receive the benefit of any such place, 
take the oaths of supremacy and allegiance. 

" Therefore, we pray your lordship to repre- 
sent to his Majesty, that we conceive we can- 
not, with a faithful discharge of our trust, admit 
the said Andrew Popham. This we pray your 
lordship to represent to his Majesty in the 
most humble manner; whereby you will ex- 
tremely oblige 

" W. Cant." 

And seven others, whose 
names are subscribed. 

This respectful and temperate letter did not 
produce the desired effect, of inducing the 
king to desist from his purpose. It is stated 
that he desired the lord chancellor to devise 
some mode of maintaining his rights, and that 
various threats were held out of severe pro- 
ceedings in preparation against the disobedient 
governors. However, greater events intervened, 
and the affair was never prosecuted. 

In the course of the ensuing year. Arch- 
bishop Bancroft received the following letter* 
from Mary Princess of Orange, and afterwards 
Queen of England. It attests, in a remarkable 
manner, the strong interest she then took in 
the welfare of the English church, and her satis- 
faction at the disposition shown by the clergy 
to maintain its doctrines and its discipline. 

* See Tedq. MSS. v. 29. No. 54. 


To the Archbishop of Canterbury. 

" Loo, October Ist, 1687. 

" Though I have not the advantage to 
know you, my Lord of Canterbury, yet the re- 
putation you have makes me resolve not to lose 
this opportunity of making myself more known 
to you, than I could have been yet. Dr. Stanly 
can assure you, that I take more interest in what 
concerns the Church of England than myself; 
and that one of the greatest satisfactions I can 
have> is to hear how that all the clergy show 
themselves as firm to their religion, as they 
have always been to their king ; which makes 
me confident God will preserve his church, 
since he has so well provided it with able men. 
I have nothing more to say, but beg your 
prayers, and desire you will do me the justice 
to believe I shall be very glad of any occasion 
to show the esteem and veneration I have for 

" Marie.'* 

To this letter the Archbishop sent the follow- 
ing reply.* It is remarkable for the simplicity 

♦ Tann. MSS. v. 29. No. 71. The editor of Miscellanea 
Curiosa (Oxf. 1781^) states tba^ this answer of Archbishop 
Bancroft to the Princess was " probably never sent." But in 
asserting this he is probably mistaken. He grounds the asser- 
tion on a letter subsequently written by Dr. Stanley, then re* 



of its expression as well as for the excellent 
strain of pious feeling in which it is written ; 
and it strongly evinces how deeply his heart 
was struck with grief and anxiety for the dan- 
gers which threatened to overwhelm the Pro- 
testant Church. 

" Lambeth House, Nov. 3d, 1 6S7^ 

" May it please your Royal Highness, 

" The high and dear esteem you have 
of the church and holy religion established 
amongst us^ so emphatically declared in your 

siding as chaplain to the Princess, in whidi that clergyman 
states that, when he was in England in 1687, he requested the 
Archbishop to write to the Princess, to encourage her still to give 
countenance to the Church of England ; but " he was piaucd 
not to write to her; a circumstance in which he afterwards re- 
joiced, when he recollected that such a letter might have been 
construed into an invitation to the Prince and Prinoess of 
Orange to come to England." But here Dr. Stanley manifestly 
refers to a letter which he wished the Archbishop to write of 
his own accord, expressly for the purpose of encouraging the 
Princess to the continued support of the church. The letter 
now quoted is merely an answer to that which she had sent, 
and contains no further encouragement to future support of the 
church than is conveyed in the gratitude expressed for the past. 
Common courtesy required that he should acknowledge her 
letter by some answer : and, as that which is now found among 
his papers bears every mark of having been prepared for the 
purpose, and is even corrected with considerable care, there 
seems no room for any reasonable doubt as to its having been 


letter with which you were lately pleased to 
honour me, and the full assurance which further 
Dr. Stanley gives us, that you hold this pious 
good affection towards (us), in common with 
that great and excellent prince in whose bosom 
you lie, are mighty strong and rich consolations, 
which, as we never needed more than now, so 
could they never come more seasonable or 
welcome to us. It hath seemed good to the 
Infinite Wisdom to exercise this poor church 
with trials of all sorts and of all degrees. But 
the greatest calamity that ever befell us, was 
that it pleased God, in his wise and just provi- 
dence, to permit wicked and ungodly men, after 
they had barbarously murdered the father, to 
drive out the sons from abiding in the inheri- 
tance of the Lord, as if they had said to them. 
Go and serve other gods. The dreadful effects 
hereof we still feel every moment, but must not, 
nay, we cannot, particularly express. And 
though all this (were it yet much more) cannot 
in the least shake or alter our steady loyalty to 
our sovereign and the royal family, in the legal 
succession of it, yet it embitters the very com- 
forts that are left us ; it blasts all our present 
joys, and makes us sit down with sorrow in 
dust and ashes. Blessed be God, who in so 
dark and dismal a night hath caused some dawn 



of light to break forth upon us from the eastern 
shore, in the constancy and good affection of 
your Royal Highness and the excellent Prince 
towards us ; for, if this should fail us too, which 
the God of heaven and earth forbid, our hearts 
must surely break. And, as our thanksgivings 
for you both go up before God continually, so 
we all pray for you without ceasing, that God 
would crown you with all the blessings of hea-r 
ven and earth. He hath inspired your Royal 
Highness (with Mary in the gospel) to choose 
the better part, and I trust it will never be 
taken from you. Be faithful unto the death 
and he will give a crown of life. In the close 
of all, your Royal Highnesses personal but most 
undeserved grace and favour to your poor un- 
worthy servant must not be forgotten; by 
which you have put new life into a dying old 
man, ready to sink under the double burthen of 
age and sorrow, but (who) will, so long as God 
holds his soul in life, continue indeclinably to 
be what he is upon so many obligations, (may 
it please your Royal Highness,) 

" Your most devoted faithful Servant, 
" And daily orator at the Throne of Grace, 

" W. C." 

It was in the month of January 168|^, that 
Archbishop Sancroft first became acquainted 


with the very learned Henry Wharton,* and 
gave him assurances of his future patronage and 
favours. This extraordinary young man, then 
little more than twenty-three years of age, had 
distinguished himself in a remarkable manner 
by several proofs of his great talents and exten- 
sive erudition. In particular, he had actively 
assisted in the controversy now carried on 
against the Papists, and recently published an 
original treatise of great merit on the celibacy 
of the clergy, and also a translation from the 
Latin, with some alterations, of a treatise con- 
cerning the incurable scepticism of the church 
of Rome. The Archbishop seems to have no- 
ticed him solely on account of his character and 
merits; he warmly encouraged him to pursue 
his studies ; and, some time after, placed in his 
hands the manuscript of Usher's dogftiatical 
History of the Scriptures, desiring him to su- 
perintend the publication of it. In the follow- 
ing May, he gave Mr. Wharton, at his own 
request, what he had never granted to any one 
before, a license to preach through the whole of 

* See in the Appendix, No. I. a paper containing copious 
extracts made by Dr. Birch from the diary of this eminently 
able and learned person, drawn up by himself. It is a great 
literary curiosity, which has never been published before. Some 
further particulars also are there given respecting Henry Whar- 
ton's life and character. 



his province. In the ensuing September, he 
made him one of his domestic chaplains, and, 
in proof of his favour, signified his intention of 
collating him to the living of Sundridge in 
Kent ; but, shortly after, instead of this bene- 
fice, he collated him to the rectory of Minster, 
which happened to fall vacant. To this he af- 
terwards added another living, that of Chart- 
ham; but was prevented by his deprivation 
from conferring on him some higher preferments 
which he designed. Mr. Wharton appears to 
have felt the full force of the obligations he 
owed to his venerable patron, and continued 
ever after to show him the greatest attention 
and respect. . It will hereafter appear that, after 
the Archbishop's deprivation and retirement 
into the country, Mr. Wharton paid him fre- 
quent visits till the time of his death, and made 
constant tenders of his services and assistance. 
During the whole of the year 1687, and the 
early part of 1688, the Archbishop remained a 
silent, though not an unobserving, spectator of 
the progress of those unhappy measures, by 
which his misguided sovereign was forfeiting 
the allegiance and good opinion of his subjects, 
and hastening his own downfall. At last, an 
occasion occurred in which he felt himself called 
upon by his feelings of public duty to take 
prompt and decisive measures, in opposition to 


his sovereign, for upholding the dignity of the 
church; and he obeyed the call in a manner 
worthy at once of the cause which he sup- 
ported, of the high station which he filled, and 
of his own character. 



SION OF THE bishop's TRIAL. 

Declaration for Liberty of Conscience — Order for the Clergy to 
read it — Active Measures of the Archbishop respecting it — 
Meetings of the Clergy at Lambeth Palace — Petition of the 
Seven Bishops — Appearances before the King and Council — 
Commitment to the Tower — Tried — Acquitted — Rejoicings and 
Congratulations thereupon. 

The order made by the King in Council, May 
4th, 1688, directing the archbishops and bishops 
to send to the clergy in their respective 
dioceses the Declaration for Liberty of Con- 
science, to be publicly read in all the pulpits of 
the kingdom, made it impossible for the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury to abstain any longer from 
engaging in an open and declared opposition to 
the counsels under which the king was now 
unhappily acting. 

The Declaration for Liberty of Conscience, 
in which the king claimed the illegal power of 
dispensing with the penal laws against Dissen- 
ters, and which, though bearing the outward 


pretence of tenderness to the consciences of all 
Dissenters, yet was well understood, and no- 
toriously intended, as a measure for favouring 
exclusively the Catholic party, had been first 
published in the spring of 1687. At that time, 
however, although it was received with strong 
general disapprobation, yet, as no persons were 
required to assist in the publication of it, or to 
take any steps by which they were made in- 
struments in enforcing it, it excited no declared 
opposition or resistance. Not satisfied with 
this, the king again published the same Declara- 
tion,* on the 27th of April in the following year, 
to prove, as he stated in the words introducing 
it, that his intentions remained unchanged since 
the preceding year. A week after the Declara- 
tion was published, he astonished the nation by 
the following order, requiring all the clergy to 
read it in their churches. 

" At the Court at Whitehall, May 4th. 
" It is this day ordered by his Majesty in 
Council, that his Majesty's late gracious Decla- 

* It is certain that the Declaration for Liberty of Con- 
science was opposed to the general feeling of the people. StiU 
there were not wanting some few towns and corporations 
which voted to the king addresses of thanks for it. — See the 
Gazettes of those times. Among other addresses, is one inserted 
in the Gazette, (May 3d, 1688,) from " the old dissenting offi- 
cers and soldiers of the county of Lincoln." 


ration, bearing date the 27th of April last, be 
read at the usual time of divine service, on the 
20th and 27th of this month, in all churches 
and chapels, within the cities of London and 
Westminster, and ten miles thereabout; and 
upon the 3d and 10th of June next, in all other 
churches and chapels throughout this kingdom. 
And it is hereby further ordered, that the Right 
Reverend the Bishops cause the said Declara- 
tion to be sent and distributed throughout their 
several and respective dioceses to be read ac- 

* Bishop Burnet takes occasion^ in remarking on this order to 
the clergy, to make an ill-natared reflection on Archbishop San- 
croft. He says, (see his Own Times, v. i. 736.) that ** now was 
perceived the bad efi'ect which was likely to follow from that 
officious motion of Sancroft for obliging the clergy to read the 
king's Declaration in 1681, after the dissolution of the Oxford 
parliament.** That Declaration was a sort of appeal to the people 
on the part of the king, against the conduct of the three last 
parliaments towards him. Burnet states (Ibid. p. 500.) that, 
when this passed in council. Archbishop Sancroft moved that 
an order should be added, requiring the clergy to publish it in 
all the churches of England. It is certain that such an onler 
was made, and that the clergy complied with it -, but, that it 
was made at the express instance of Archbishop Sancroft, seems 
to rest on no other authority than that of Burnet. — Perhaps 
Hume is not very wrong when he says — " These orders (in 
Charles's time) were agreeable to their (the clergy's) party pre- 
judices, and they willingly submitted to tbcm. The contrary 
was now (in James*s time) the case.** The king's letter to Arch- 
bishop Sancroft, in 1681, conveying the order to the clergy. 


It can admit of no doubt that this order was 
intended for the express purpose of insulting 
and degrading the clergy. This body, it was 
known, highly disapproved the Declaration; 
they had given great offence to James by the 
activity they had shown in their writings and 
discourses, in opposing the dissemination of 
popery ; and by their influence and exertions 
they opposed the most effectual obstacles to 
the success of his designs. The device, there- 
fore, of making them instrumental in forwarding 
a measure to which they were known to be 

being a scarce document^ is here subjoined. — See Lambeth MSS. 
V. 943. p. 827. 

" Charles R. 

'^ Most Reverend Father in God, right trusty and entirely 
beloved counsellor^ we greet you well. ^Vhereas we have 
thought fit to publish a Declaration to all our loving subjects, 
touching the causes and reasons that moved us to dissolve the 
two last parliaments -, and have likewise ordered the same to 
be read in all churches and chapels, throughout this our king- 
dom of England -, our will and pleasure is, that you forthwith 
give such directions as have been usual in like cases, or as you 
shall judge most expedient and requisite in this, for the reading 
of our said Declaration, in all and every the churches and cha- 
pels within your province of Canterbury, at the time of divine 
service upon some Lord's day, and that the same be done with 
all convenient speed that may be. And so we bid you most 
heartily fEU'ewell. Given at our Court at Whitehall, the 11th 
day of April, 1681, in the thirty-third year of our reign. 

'^ By his Majesty's command. 

" L. Jenkins." 


decidedly adverse, seemed calculated, above 
every other, to gratify his resentment against 
them, and to humble them in the eyes of the 

The clergy were now placed in the diffi- 
cult situation of either disobeying a positive 
command of the king, or of consenting tp their 
ovsrn degradation, by concurring in a measure 
to which they felt conscientious objections. 
The parochial clergy who were to receive the 
order through their ecclesiastical superiors, na- 
turally looked to them for advice and assistance 
in the emergency ; and it was very generally 
felt that, if any resistance or expostulation was 
to take place, it was obviously proper, on every 
ground, that it should begin with those prelates 
whose station would give weight to the expres- 
sion of their opinions. Many of the bishops 
felt the full force of the call of duty which was 
made upon them, and promptly obeyed it ; the 
Archbishop of Canterbury, in particular, took 
the lead, as became him, on the occasion ; and, 
both in suggesting and in directing the mea- 
sures which were taken, acted with a degree of 
spirit, activity, and decision, which reflects in- 
finite credit on his character, and extorted un- 
qualified praise even from Bishop Burnet.* 

* Sec Buraet*s Own Times, v. i. p. 738. 


From the first publication of the obnoxious 
order, the Archbishop seems to have employed 
himself in consulting with the most eminent of 
the clergy who were in or near London. At 
the same time he addressed letters to those of 
the bishops in whose opinions he most confided, 
requesting them to come to London without 
delay. The following,* found among his pa- 
pers, seems to be the form of letter which he 
dispatched to some or all of the absent bishops. 

" My Lord, 

'* This is only in my own name, and 
in the name of some of our brethren now here 
upon the place, earnestly to desire you, imme- 
diately upon the receipt of this letter, to come 
hither with what convenient speed you can, not 
taking notice to any that you are sent for. 
Wishing you a prosperous journey, and us all 

a happy meeting, 

** I remain 

" Your very loving brother.^ 

The following answerf to his application, sent 
by Dr. Tillotson, deserves to be preserved on 
account of the celebrity of the writer. 

* Sec Tann. MSS. v. 28. No. 2L 
t IbiA 28, 29. 

256 life of archbishop sancroft. 

" May it please your Grace, 

*' Though I am very sensible how unfit 
I am to advise in difficult cases, yet I could 
never forgive myself, if I should be wanting to 
our religion and church in any thing wherein 
your Grace shall think I may be in the least 
serviceable ; and therefore I shall not fail, God 
willing, to wait upon your Grace to-morrow 
morning at the hour appointed. I humbly beg 
your Grace's blessing, and remain, 

'' My Lord, 

" Your Grace's most obedient 
" Son and Servant, 

" Jo. TiLLOTSON." 

On Saturday the 12th of May, a partial meet- 
ing took place at Lambeth Palace, of some of 
the bishops and clergy ;* when, after full consi- 

* See Clarendon's Diary, 1 688.— Saturday, May 12. The 
Earl of Clarendon, who appears to have maintained great inti- 
macy with the Archhishop of Canterbury, and many of the 
bishops, was present at this consultation. He says *' I dined 
at Lambeth, where likewise dined the Bishops of London, Ely, 
and Peterborough, Chester and St. David's. The two last dis- 
composed the company, nobody caring to speak before them. 
Quickly after dinner they' went away. Then the Archbishop 
and the rest took into consideration the reading of the Declara- 
tion in the churches, according to the order of council 3 and after 
full deliberation, it was resolved not to do it. Dr.Tennisonwas 
present at all the debate. The resolution was, to petition the 


deration of the matter of the reading the De- 
claration in the churches, it was resolved that 
the order to this effect should not be complied 
with. It was determined that a petition should 
be presented to the king on the subject, but that, 
before this was done, steps should be taken 
to collect in London as many of the bishops aa 
were within reach. The Archbishop seems to 
have held at this time daily consultations with 
the clergy* on this very important subject. 
When at last as many of the bishops who had 
been sent for, as were expected, had arrived, 
another meetingf took place at Lambeth Pa- 
lace on Friday, May 18th. There were pre- 
sent at it the following Bishops : Dr. Compton 
of London, Dr. Lloyd of St. Asaph, Dr. Turner 

king in the matter, but first to get as many bishops to town as 
were within reach ^ and, in order thereunto, that the Bishops of 
Winchester, Norwich, Gloucester, St. Asaph, Bath and WeUs, 
Bristol and Chichester, be written to, to come to town." 

* Clarendon's Diary, May 16. "The Bishop of St. Asaph 
came to town before noon; he alighted at my house and 
dined with me. I sent for the Bishop of Ely. In the af- 
ternoon, they two went to Lambeth. They told me most of 
the city clergy had resolved not to read the Declaration. The 
Bishop of Winchester sent his excuse to the Archbishop, being 
indisposed. — May 17, Thursday. The Bishops of St. Asaph and 
Ely, Dr. Tennison, and Dr. Patrick dined with me. In the 
afternoon they went to Lambeth.'* 

t Tann. MSS. v. 28. Nos. 26, 27, 28, 30. 

VOL. I. S 


of Ely, Dr. Lake of Chichester, Dr. Kenn of 
Bath and Wells, Dr. White of Peterborough, 
and Sir Jonathan Trelawney of Bristol ; Dr. Til- 
lotson. Dean of Canterbury; Dr. Stillingfleet, 
Dean of St. Paul's; Dr. Patrick, Dean of Peter- 
borough; Dr. Tenison, Vicar of St. Martin's; 
Dr. Sherlock, Master of the Temple, and Dn 
Grove, Rector of St. Andrew's Undershaflt. 

After reading prayers, they entered on a 
serious and mature discussion of the subject. 
The following is given as the substance of 
what passed at the deliberation.* It was 
urged — ^That the matter of the Declaration was 
altogether illegal, the footing upon which it 
stood being a power, not only to dispense in 
contingent and particular cases, for which if 
the lawgivers could have foreseen them, they 
would have provided a dispensation; but it was 
to dispense with all sorts of laws, in cases 
contrary to the very design and end of making 
them: That this was not properly a dispensing 
but a disannulling power, highly prejudicial to 
the king himself, because it took away that 
faith and trust which the people repose in him 
when a law is made, which they look upon 
as their security: That it was true, each bishop 
or minister was not a capable judge in such 

♦ Sec Kcnnett's History, Hi, 482. 


caseij; but however, he was a judge for his own 
private conscience, against which he must not 
go: That this case was publicly adjudged in 
parliament in 1672: That the general forbear- 
ance of addresses, grounded upon the illegality 
of that dispensing power, showed this to have 
been the judgment of the greatest part of the 
clergy and others : That the declaration of the 
present jijdges went no farther than the parti- 
cular military case of Sir Edward Hales, which, 
in whatsoever words it was expressed, yet never 
came legally to the cognizance of the subject: 
That an unlawful matter was not to be pub- 
lished, if he who published it thought the 
Inatter unlawful; for it cannot come to him, 
being illegal, by any authority ; for the king can 
do no illegal thing ; — and, if his officers do it, 
they do it not by the king's authority, and there- 
fore, the refusing of it is no disobedience, being 
no illegal refusal: That if then the bishops 
should publish the Declaration, they would do it 
voluntarily as their own act, and consequently 
would publish an illegal thing without legal au- 
thority, and would be punishable for it : That 
many and great were the ill consequences of 
reading the Declaration — ^first, that many would 
justly judge the clergy either cowards or hypo- 
critical time-servers, in publishing what they 
thought illegal and illegally sent to them — se- 

s 2 


condly, that many who had votes for the House 
of Commons, would take this for the consent 
of the publishers, and be strengthened in the 
choosing such men as should be friends, not only 
to the Indulgence, but to the foundation of it, 
the dispensing power ; — thirdly, that the world 
would have reason to take this publication for 
an approbation, because there could be no other 
intention in ordering it to be published, but to 
make the clergy parties to it; for it was as 
much known before it was read, as it would 
be after the reading of it; and therefore, the 
making it known was not the only thing in- 
tended; — and fourthly, that, after this, they 
must expect further things to be published 
by them, at which they must make a stand ; 
and their making a stand, when thej^ had lost 
their reputation, would be of no force : That 
therefore, in prudence as well as in conscience, 
they ought not to publish a declaration which 
they knew to be against law, and which, in its 
nature and design, was levelled against their 
own interest, and that of their religion. 

It was objected by some, that their refusal 
would be interpreted by the Papists, as a failure 
in the great principles of loyalty, to which the 
church of England made pretence: others said, 
that Dissenters would construe it as a declara- 
tion against all tenderness to them ; and others 


again, that suspension or deprivation of the 
refusers might follow, whereby the people of 
their church might be left, as sheep without a 
To the first objection it was answered, that 


their non-addressing had been reflected on in 
books, as well as discourses, but had no effect 
to blast their loyalty, though the clergy refused 
to address, even in the branch that made for 
themselves, because of that one foundation, on 
which that clause stood with the rest, of a dis- 
pensing power: that loyalty being obedience 
according to law, they were loyal men who 
acted not contrary thereunto: that the best 
friends to the crown are those who support the 
law ; and that they still maintained the princi- 
ple of suffering without any unchristian oppo- 
sition. To the second, that the Dissenters had 
never such assurances from churchmen of their 
inclination of tenderness to them, as they then 
received ; that they could not but see that this 
refusal was not to hinder any favours to them 
by this indulgence, but the dispensing power, 
which, if it took place, they could not but dis- 
cern that a new Magna Charta for liberty of 
conscience would be of no validity to them, for 
a new declaration might dispense with it at 
pleasure ; and that the wisest and best of them 
would look upon their refusal as a testimony of 



their sincerity to the Protestant religion, and 
not of any disaffection to them. To the last 
objection it was answered, that the church and 
their religion would suffer less by the suspen- 
sion or deprivation of their prelates or minis- 
ters, than it would by their illegal compliance 
in so great and fundamental a point ; that they 
have better thoughts of the king s clemency 
and justice, when he should be informexl by 
men of conscience, against the counsels of men 
of interest; for how could the king, at the vCTy 
time that he proclaimed liberty of conscience 
to all, even those who formerly were looked 
upon as his enemies, do an open violence to the 
consciences of those, who had ever been ac- 
knowledged to be his friends: and, in shor^ 
that they ought to perform their duty, and 
leave the event to God; and that a certam 
evil must not be done, to avoid a contingent 

After a long deliberation, they determined, in 
conclusion, to embody the result into the fol- 
lowing form of petition, to be presented to the 

To THE King's most excellent Majesty, 

The humble Petition of William, Archbishop 
of Canterbury, and of divers of the suffragan 
Bishops of that province, now present with 


him, in behalf of themselves and others of 
their absent brethren, and of the clergy of 
their respective dioceses, 

" Humbly shovireth, 

"That the great averseness they find in 
themselves to the distributing and publishing 
in all their churches your Majesty's late Decla- 
ration for liberty of conscience, proceedeth 
neither from any want of duty and obedience 
to your Majesty, our holy mother the church 
of England being, both in her principles and 
constant practice, unquestionably loyal, and 
having (to her great honour) been more than 
once publicly acknowledged to be so by your 
gracious Majesty ; nor yet from any want of due 
tenderness to Dissenters, in relation to whom 
they are willing to come to such a temper as shall 
be thought fit, when that matter shall be consi- 
dered, and settled in parliament and convoca- 
tion; but among many other considerations, 
from this especially, because that Declaration 
is founded upon such a dispensing power as 
hath often been declared illegal in parliament, 
and particularly in the years 1662 and 1672, 
and in the beginning of your Majesty's reign ; 
and is a matter of so great moment and conse- 
quence to the whole nation, both in church and 
state, that your petitioners cannot, in prudence^ 



honour, or conscience, so far make themselves 
parties to it, as the distribution of it all over 
the nation, and the solemn publication of it 
once and again, even in God's house, and in the 
time of his divine service, must amount to in 
common and reasonable construction. 

'* Your Petitioners, therefore, most humbly 
and earnestly beseech your Majesty, that you 
will be graciously pleased not to insist upon 
their distributing and reading your Majesty's 
said Declaration : 

" And your Petitioners shall ever pray, &c. 

'' W. Cant. Tho. Bath & Wells, 
" W. Asaph, Tho. Petribukgens. 
*' Fran. Ely, Jon. Bristol." 

*' Jo. CiCESTR. 

Circumstances admitted of no delay in pre- 
senting this petition ; for the Sunday following 
the Friday on which the meeting took place, 
was the first of the two days on which the 
declaration was ordered to be read in the 
churches in and near London. Accordingly,* 
on the evening of the day on which the peti- 
tion was drawn up, all those who had sub- 

* This account of what passed is given from a paper in the 
Archbishop's own hand Mnriting. — Tann. MSS. v. 28. No. 26. 


scribed it, with the exception of the Arch- 
bishop, who, as has been stated, had been for- 
bidden to appear at court, went over to White- 
hall, to deliver it to the king. For this purpose, 
the Bishop of St. Asaph applied to the Earl of 
Sunderland, the president of the council, de- 
siring him to peruse the petition and acquaint 
his Majesty with its general purport, that he 
might not be taken by surprise ; requesting him 
at the same time to beg the king to assign the 
time and place, when and where they might all 
attend him and present their petition. The earl 
declined perusing the petition, but immediately 
went and acquainted the king with the request 
of the bishops. The king gave orders that they 
might be immediately admitted into his closet, 
where the Bishop of St. Asaph, with the rest, all 
upon their knees, delivered the petition. The 
king at first received the petitioners and their pe- 
tition in a gracious manner, and upon first open- 
ing it said, *' This is my lord of Canterbury's 
own hand." To which the bishops replied, 
" Yes, Sir, it is his own hand." As soon, how- 
ever, as he had read it over, he folded it up and 
said, " This is a great surprise to me: here are 
strange words. I did not expect this from you. 
This is a standard of rebellion." 
The Bishop of St. Asaph, and some of the rest. 


replied, That they had adventured their 
for his Majesty, and would lose the last drop of 
their blood, rather than lift up a finger ag^ainst 

The King. — I tell you, this is a standard of 
rebellion : I never saw such an address. 

The Bishop of Bristol (falling on his knees). — 
Rebellion! Sir, I beseech your Majesty > do not 
say so hard a thing of us. For Grod's sake, do 
not believe we are or can be guilty of a rebel- 
lion. It is impossible that I or any of my 
family should be so. Your Majesty cannot 
but remember that you sent me down into 
Cornwall to quell Monmouth's rebellion; and 
I am as ready to do what I can to quell ano- 
ther, if there were occasion. 

Bishop of Chichester. — Sir, we have quelled 
one rebellion and will not raise another. 

Bishop of Ely. — ^We rebel. Sir! we are ready 
to die at your feet. 

Bishop of Bath and Wells. — Sir, I hope you 
will give that liberty to us, which you allow t^ 
all mankind. 

Bishop of Peterborough. — Sir, you allow liberty 
of conscience to all mankind; the reading this 
Declaration is against our conscience. 

The King. — I will keep this paper. It is the 
strangest address which I ever saw; it tends 


to rebellion. Do you question my dispensing 
power? Some of you here have printed and 
preached for it, when it was for your purpose. 

Bishop of Peterborough. — Sir, what we say of 
the dispensing power refers only to what was 
declared in parliament. 

ne King. — ^The dispensing power was never 
questioned by the men of the church of Eng- 

Bishop of St. Asaph. — It was declared against 
in the first parliament called by his late Ma- 
jesty, and by that which was called by your 

The King, insisting upon the tendency of the 
petition to rebellion, said. He would have his 
Declaration published. 

Bishop of Bath and Wells. — We are bound to 
fear God and honour the king. We desire to do 
both : we will honour you, we must fear God. 

The King. — Is this what I have deserved, 
who have supported the church of England, 
and will support it? I will remember you that 
you have signed this paper. I will keep this 
paper; I will not part vdth it. I did not ex* 
pect this from you, especially from some of 
you. I will be obeyed in publishing my Decla- 

Bishop of Bath and Wells.— God's will be 


The King.— What's that? 

Bishop of Bath and Wells. — God's will be 
done, — ^And so said the Bishop of Peterbo- 

The King. — If I think fit to alter my mind, I 
will send to you. God hath given me this disr 
pensing power, and I will maintain it. I tell 
you, there are seven thousand men, and of the 
church of England too, that have not bowed 
the knee to Baal. 

After this singular conversation, conducted 
with so much heat and impetuosity of temper 
on the part of the king, and with such calm- 
ness and respectfulness of demeanour on the 
part of the bishops, they were dismissed from 
the royal presence. 

The Archbishop had written the petition with 
his own hand, in order to prevent copies of it 
getting into circulation; but, as is supposed, 
from the unfaithfulness of those about the king, 
it was spread all over the town on the very 
same evening on which it was presented.* 

The petition was afterwards approved and 
signed by several bishops who were not pre- 
sent at the meeting, as, those of London, Nor- 
wich, Gloucester, Salisbury, Winchester, and 

* JSee Dalrymple*8 Memoirs. 


Exeter.* The Bishop of London, being at this 
time under suspension, probably thought it im- 

* On two copies of the petition^ written in the Archhishop*s 
hand^ are the following subscriptions. 

Approbo H. London, May 23, 1688. 

May 23^ William Norwich, 

May 21. 88, Robert Gloucester, 

May 26, Seth Saruh, 

P. Winchester, 
Tho. Exon. May 29, 1688. 
Of these bishops. Dr. William Lloyd, Bishop of Norwich, was 
a person in whose wisdom and integrity Archbishop Sancroft 
placed the greatest confidence. The Archbishop sent for him 
as soon as the order for reading the Declaration came out, in 
order to consult him, with the other bishops, as to the best 
course of proceeding : and that his letter might not be stopped 
at the post office, where all suspected letters were opened every 
night, he sent his servant on the Norwich road to put it into 
the first country post, to be forwarded by the Norwich ba^. 
But it happened, by the neglect of the post master to whom it 
was delivered, that it did not reach Norwich till a post after it 
ought to have done so. On this account, before the bishop 
could get to London, the petition of the seven prelates was 
presented. However, they had an advantage from that circum- 
stance when they were committed to the tower, that this bishop 
being at liberty had the opportunity of serving them as their 
solicitor, and conveying to them those advices from the nobility, 
lawyers, and other friends, by which they governed their con- 
duct during the whole course of the business. His assiduity in* 
this matter was so noticed, that threats were more than once 
held out to him, that be would be sent to keep company with 
those whose cause he so earnestly solicited. — See Life of Pri- 
deaux, p. 39— 41. 


proper that he should appear before the king as 
a petitioning bishop, and therefore only signed 
the paper in token of his concurrence. The 
others, from some circumstances, were unable 
to reach London in time to add their names be- 
fore it was presented. 

The parochial clergy most readily followed 
the example set by the bishops, and very ge- 
nerally abstained from complying with the ob- 
noxious order in council. Within the city and 
liberties of London, it is stated* that the Decla- 
ration was read only in four churches. In the 
distant dioceses, some of the bishops who were 
devoted to the measures of the court, consented 
to send the Declaration to their clergy ; but, 
even then, in many instances, the feeling of re- 
pugnance on the part of the latter was so strong, 
that they refused to comply with the order even 
when thus recommended by their superiors.*!* 

* See Clarendon's Diary, May 20th. 

f In the diocese of Norwich in particular, it is related that, 
out of about 1200 parishes, there were not above three or four 
where the Declaration was read from the pulpit. — See Life of 
Prideaux, p. 41. Activity was not wanting on the part a£ the 
opposers of the Popish cause. A letter, supposed to have been 
drawn up by the Earl of Halifax, containing reasons addressed 
to the clergy for not complying with the order of the king in 
council, was privately printed, and dispersed with great in- 
dustry. In Norwich diocese, the dispersion of the copies was in- 
trusted to Dr. Prideaux, then one of the prebendaries : he sent 
the parcel containing them to Yarmouth, to be conveyed back 


Archbishop Sancroft, and the bishops who 
had concurred with him in signing the peti- 
tion, were now fairly committed in opposition 
to the king; and public expectation was on 
the utmost stretchy as to the consequences 
which would ensue from this extraordinary 
state of things. The known impetuosity of 
the king's temper, excited by the headstrong 
bigotry of the party to whose counsels he was 
entirely devoted, gave very little reason to sup- 
pose that he would suffer the affair to pass off 
quietly. Still, he seems to have remained for 
some time in suspense respecting the measures 
he should take; for he permitted a delay of 
nine days to elapse without doing any thing ; a 
delay very ill according with his usual habits 
and disposition, especially in a matter in which 
the strongest feelings of his nature were so 
deeply interested. It is stated that, at one 
time, he had determined to let the business 
drop, and not to proceed against the bishops. 
At last, he came to the imprudent resolu- 
tion of prosecuting them for a misdemeanour. 
It seems doubtful whether this determination 
resulted principally from his own mind, or was 

from thence by the carriers. In consequence of this contrivance^ 
it was supposed that they came from Holland^ and the fact of 
his being concerned in the dispersion of them was not suspected. 
See Life of Prideaux, p. 39, 43. 


instilled into him by others :* but the greater 
part of those who were most attached to him, 
foresaw from the first, as clearly as did those most 
opposed to him, the probable consequence of the 
measure ; that of riveting the affections of the 
nation to the venerable prelates, by making them 
sufferers in the cause they had espoused, of in- 
flaming in a tenfold degree the public feelings 
against his arbitrary proceedings, and ultimately 
of giving the most complete triumph to his op- 

Late in the evening of Sunday, May 27th,. 
one of the king's messengers served the Arch- 

* Even the Lord Chancellor Jeffreys seems to have been ad- 
verse to the plan of prosecuting the bishops. Lord Clarendon 
states in his Diary, that Jeffi*eys told him, the king was once re- 
solved to let the business fall, and not to have proceeded against 
them ; that he (Jefireys) was grieved to find he had changed his 
mind ; that he knew not how it came to pass, but said there 
was no remedy ; some men would hurry the king to his destruc- 
tion.** Clarendon's Diary, Thursday, June 14. — On the other 
hand. King James throws the blame of the measure on the lord 
chancellor. In his life of himself (IViacpherson^s State Pa- 
pers, V. i. p. 151) he says, " The chancellor advised the king 
to summon the bishops before the council." Again, (p. 152.) 
'' The king gave in to the chancellor's opinion, who thought 
that a mere reprimand was not sufficient : it was however a fatal 
counsel." It seems that bbth the king and his chancellor soon 
discovered the error of this step, and therefore each was desirous- 
of disclaiming it as resulting from his own opinion, and of 
throwing the blame of it on the other. 


bishop of Canterbury with the following sum* 

" Robert i Harl of Sunderland ^ President 
of his Majesty s most honourable 
Privy Council, S^c. S;c* 

** These are in his Majesty's name to require 
William, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, to ap* 
pear personally before his Majesty in councili 
upon the eighth day of June next at five in the 
afternoon^ to answer to such matters of misde«> 
meanour, as on his Majesty's behalf shall then 
and there be objected against him: and you are 
hereby required to summon the said William, 
Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, to appear ac- 
cordingly : and for so doing, this shall be your 
warrant. Given at the court at Whitehall, the 
27th day of May, 1688. 

." Sunderland P. 

** To Sir John Taylor, 

One of his Majesty's Messengers in Ordinary.** 

. Those of the petitioners who were remaining 
in London, viz. the Bishops of Ely, Chichester 
and Peterborough, had similar summonses at 
the same time served upon them by king's 
messengers : and they were dispatched to the 

t Tann. MSS. V. 28. 35. 
VOL. I. T 


others who had retired to their respective dio- 

The interval between the receipt of this sum- 
mons and the time of their appearance, was 
spent by the prelates in consulting with their 
friends and legal advisers, as to the course they 
should pursue before the Privy Council. A 
rumour had got abroad that they would be 
required to enter into recognizances for their 
further appearance. In consequence, they took 
the opinion of their friends as to this point, and 
were advised by no means to consent to do so, 
if they should be required ; on the ground* of 
its never having been usual for members of the 
House of Peers to give recognizances to answer 
for a misdemeanour. 

In the mean time, they were cheered by the 
expressions of approbation which reached them 
from every quarter, for the firmness and spirit 
they had displayed. Amongst others, the 
Prince and Princess of Orange, who could be 
no indifferent spectators of what was passing 
in England, desired Dr. Stanley, their chaplain, 
to convey their feelings on the subject to the 
Archbishop. The following is an extract from 
his letter on the occasion. 

* Tann. MSS. v. 28. 46. 



•' All men here, that love the Church 
and Reformation, do rejoice at it (the petition) 
and thank God for it, as an act very prudent 
and resolute, and every way becoming your 
places and characters ; but especially our ex- 
cellent prince and princess were so well pleased 
with it (notwithstanding what the Marquis of 
Abbeville, the king's envoy here, could say 
against it), that they have both vindicated it 
before him» and given me a command in their 
names to return your Grace their hearty thanks 
for it ; and at the same time to express their 
real concern for your Grace and all your 
brethren, and for the good cause in which you 
are engaged ; and I dare say, they are not only 
highly satisfied with your Grace's conduct, but 
reckon themselves particularly obliged by your 
Grace's so steadily maintaining the church ; and 
your refusing to comply with the king is by no 
means looked on by them as tending to dispa- 
rage or depress the monarchy : for they reckon 
the monarchy to be really undervalued and 
injured by all unreasonable and illegal actions, 
though never so much pretending to enhance it. 
Indeed, we have great reason to bless and thank 
God, for their Highnesses' steadiness in so good 
a cause, and their affection towards us. They 
do give us all the comfortable prospect that we 



ourselves can desire ; and I pray God in his 
good time to answer and fulfil all these our 
hopes in them."* 

On Friday, June 8th,t at five in the afternoon, 
his Majesty came into the Privy Council 
About half an hour after, the Archbishop and 
six bishops, who were in attendance in the next 
room, were called into the council chamber, 
and graciously received by his Majesty. 

The Lord Chancellor took a paper then lying 
on the table, and showing it to the Archbishop, 
asked him in words to this effect : 

'' Is this the petition that was written and 
signed by your Grace, and which these bishops 
presented to his Majesty ?" 

The Archbishop received the paper from the 
Lord Chancellor, and addressing himself to the 
king, spake to this purpose : 

'' Sir, I am called hither as a criminal, which 
I never was before in my life ; and little thought 
I ever should be, especially before your Ma- 
jesty ; but, since it is my unhappiness to be so 
at this time, I hope your Majesty will not be 
offended, that I am cautious of answering ques- 

* Sec Tanner's MSS. v. 28. No. 31. 

t Tann. MSS. v. 28. 49. llie narrative of what took place 
at these remarkable interviews is given fh)m papers, part of 
which are wholly written, and part corrected, by Archbiibop 


tions. No man is obliged to answer questions, 
that may tend to the accusing of himself/' 

His Majesty called this chicanery, and hoped 
he would not deny his hand. 

The Archbishop still insisted that there could 
be no other end of this question, but to draw 
such an answer from him as might afford ground 
for an accusation, and, therefore, begged that 
no answer might be required of him. The 
Bishop of St. Asaph said, *^ All divines are 
agreed in this, that no man in our circumstances 
is obliged to answer any such question." The 
king still pressing for an answer with some 
seeming impatience, the Archbishop said, *' Sir, 
though we are not obliged to give any answer 
to this question, yet, if your Majesty lays your 
commands upon us, we shall answer it, in trust, 
upon your Majesty's justice and generosity, that 
we shall not suffer for our obedience, as we 
must, if our answer should be brought in evi- 
dence against us." His Majesty said, " No, I 
will not command you : if you will deny your 
own hands, I know not what to say to you." 
The Lord Chancellor then desired them to 

After about half a quarter of an hour, they 
were called in again. Then the Lord Chan- 
cellor said, *^ His Majesty has commanded me 
to require you to answer this question. Whether 



these be your hands which are set to this peti- 
tion ?" His Majesty himself also said, ** I com- 
mand you to answer this question." Then the 
Archbishop took the petition, and having read 
it over, acknowledged that he wrote and signed 
it. The other bishops also acknowledged their 
respective signatures. 

The following questions were put by the king 
at this interview, and thus answered by some 
of the bishops.* 

Q. Is this your petition ? 

A. Pray, Sir, give us leave to see it ; and if, 

upon perusal, it appears to be the same . 

Yes, Sir, this is our petition, and these are our 

Q. Who were present at the forming of it? 

il. All we, who have subscribed it. 

Q. Were no other persons present? 

A. It is our great infelicity, that we are here 
as criminals; and your Majesty is so just and 

* This is given from a paper in the Archbishop's hand 
writing, which states it to he what passed " after the third or 
fourth coming in.** To make it consistent, however, with the 
narrative, drawn up also by him, of the whole which passed at 
the several interviews, it must have taken place after the second 
time of their coming in. It b manifest that the Archbishop 
afterwards put down on paper what had passed, either from 
his own recollection, or from that of the bishops : perfect ac- 
curacy, therefore, as to the very words that passed, was not to 
be expected. 


generous, that you will not require us to accuse 
either ourselves or others. 
. Q. Upon what occasion came you to Lon- 

A. I received an intimation from the Arch- 
bishop, that my advice and assistance was re- 
quired in the affairs of the church. 

Q. What were the affairs which you con- 
sulted of? 

A. The matter of the petition. 

Q. What is the temper you are ready to 
come to with the Dissenters ? 

A. We refer ourselves to the petition. 

Q. What mean you by the dispensing power 
being declared illegal in parliament ? 

A. The words are so plain that we cannot 
use any plainer. 

Q. What want of prudence or honour is there 
in obeying the king ? 

; A. What is against conscience is against pru- 
dence, and honour too, especially in persons of 
our character. 

Q. Why is it against your conscience ? 

A. Because our consciences oblige us (as far 
as we are able) to preserve our laws and reli- 
gion according to the Reformation. 
. Q. Is the dispensing power then against the 

A. We refer ourselves to the petitioij. 

T 4 


Qf How could the distributing and reading 
the Declaration make you parties to it ? 

A. We refer ourselves to our petition, whe- 
ther the common and reasonable constructioii 
of mankind would not make it so, 

Q. Did you disperse a printed letter in the 
country, or otherwise dissuade any of the clergy 
from readmg it ? 

A, If this be one of the articles of misde- 
meanour against us, we desire to answer it with 
the rest. 

General, We acknowledge the petition : we 
are summoned to appear here to answer such 
matters of misdemeanour as should be ob-* 
jected; we therefore humbly desire a copy o^ 
our charge, pud that time convenient may be 
allowed us to advise about it, and answer it. 
We are here in obedience to his Majesty's com- 
mand to receive our charge, but humbly desire 
we may be excused from answering questions 
from whence occasion may be taken against us, 

They were now commanded to withdraw. 
After a while they were called in a third time. 
Then the Lord Chancellor told them, " It is his 
Majesty's pleasure to have you proceeded 
against for this petition ; but it shall be with all 
fairness in Westminster Hall : there will be an 
information against you, which you are to an- 
swer ; and, in order to that, you are to enter 
into a recognizance/' The Archbishop said. 


that without a recognizance they should be 
ready to appear and to answer, whensoever 
they were called. One of the bishops said, 
the Lord Lovelace had been called before the 
council to answer to a complaint that was 
brought in against him, and that he was allowed 
to answer it in Westminster Hall, without en- 
tering into any recognizance; and that they 
hoped they might be allowed to answer in like 
nature. The Lord Chancellor said, the Lord 
Lovelace had affronted his Majesty, and had 
behaved himself very rudely before them ; and, 
therefore, his Majesty would have him pro- 
ceeded against in the common way ; but, for 
the bishops there present, his Majesty was 
pleased to treat them with all favour in respect 
of their character, and therefore he would have 
them enter into recognizance. His Majesty 
was pleased to say, ^^ I offer you this as a favour, 
and I would not have you refuse it," The 
Bishop of St. Asaph said, '^ Whatsoever favour 
your Majesty vouchsafes to offer to any person, 
you are pleased to leave it to him whether he 
will accept it or no ; and you do not expect he 
should accept it to his own prejudice. We 
conceive, that this entering into recognizance 
may be prejudicial to us ; and therefore we 
hope your Majesty will not be offended at our 
declining it." Then the Lord Chancellor said, 
^^ There are but three ways to proceed in mat- 


ters of this kind ; it must be either by commit- 
ment, or by recognizance, or by subpcena out 
of King's-Bench. His Majesty was not willing 
to take the common way in proceeding against 
you ; but he would give you leave to enter into 
recognizance ;" and his lordship again advised 
them to accept it. Some of the bishops said, 
they were informed that no man was obliged 
to enter into recognizance, unless there were 
special matter against him, and that alleged 
upon oath : this they said, not considering that 
now the petition was made special matter, and 
that their confessing it was as good as an oath. 
But at last they insisted on this, that there was 
no precedent for it, that any member of the 
House of Peers should be bound in recogni- 
zance for misdemeanour. The Lord Chancellor 
said there were precedents for it; but, being 
.desired to name one, he named none. The 
bishops desired to be proceeded against in the 
common way ; but that was not allowed, and 
they were a third time commanded to with- 

Awhile after, they were called in a fourth 
time, and asked, whether they had considered 
of it better ? and, whether they would accept 
his Majesty's favour? The Archbishop said, 
he had the advice of the best counsel in town ; 
and they had warned him against entering into 
recognizance, assuring him it would be to his 


prejudice; and therefore he begged that it 
might not be required, offering his promise 
again to appear and to answer, whensoever he 
should be called. But his Majesty seemed to 
be displeased, and said, " You will believe 
others before you will believe me." So they 
were the fourth time commanded to withdraw. 
Some time after, the Earl of Berkeley, one 
of the noblemen about the court, came from the 
Council Chamber to the bishops, and endea- 
voured first to persuade the Archbishop, and 
afterwards the other bishops, to enter into re- 
cognizance. Referring to a conversation he 
had with the Archbishop a short time before, 
in which he understood him to say that he 
should be willing to enter into recognizance, if 
required, he seemed to think it strange that his 
Grace should now refuse it. The fact, no 
doubt, is, that his Grace may have expressed 
himself in conversation, as willing to take this 
step ; but that, afterwards, as has been stated, 
he and the other bishops were strongly advised 
against it by their legal friends. The earl re- 
mained with them for some time, earnestly 
urging the point, and saying, that if it were his 
own case, he should do it. At last, finding 
them all resolved, he returned to the Council 
Chamber. About half an hour after, a serjeant 
at arms came forth from thence with a warrant 


signed with fourteen hands to carry the seven 
prelates to the tower; and another warrant, 
with nineteen hands and seals annexed, ad- 
dressed to the Lieutenant of the Tower, to keep 
them in safe custody. 

The following is the warrant of their com- 
mitment, addressed to the Lieutenant of the 

" These are in his Majesty's name, and by 
his command, to require you to take into your 
custody the persons of William, Lord Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury; William, Lord Bishop 
of St. Asaph ; Francis, Lord Bishop of Ely ; 
John, Lord Bishop of Chichester; Thomas, 
Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells ; Thomas, Lord 
Bishop of Peterborough ; and Jonathan, Lord 
Bishop of Bristol ; for contriving, making, and 
publishing a seditious libel in writing, against 
his Majesty and his government; and them 
safely to keep in your custody, until they shall 
be delivered by due course of law. For which 
this shall be your sufficient warrant. At the 
Council Chamber in Whitehall, this 8th day of 
June, 1688. 

Signed by " Jeffreys, Chancellor, 

*' and eighteen other Privy Counsellors/* 
«' To the laeuienant of the ToKcr.*' 

An Order of Council was made at the same 


time, directing the Attorney and Solicitor Ge- 
nerals to prosecute the bishops, in the following 



The King's most excellent Majesty. 
(After reciting the names of the Privy 

Counsellors, among whom was Mr. 

Petre, the Jesuit, whose introduction 

to the Council had given such great 


" There being this day issued a warrant by 
his Majesty's special command, in Council, 
under the hands and seals of the lords of his 
Majesty's most honourable Privy Council, for 
committing to the Tower of London, his Grace 
William, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, &c. 
for contriving, making and publishing a sedi- 
tious libel against his Majesty and his govern- 
ment, (a copy whereof is hereunto annexed,) 
there to be safely kept, until they shall be de- 
livered by due course of law: it is this day 
further ordered by his Majesty in Council, th?tt 
Sir Thomas Powys, KLnight, his Majesty's At- 
torney General, and Sir William Williams, 
Knight, his Majesty's Solicitor General, do 
forthwith prepare an information against the 
i^aid Archbishop, and the several bishops above 
named, for the offence aforesaid, and prosecute 


the same according to law, in his Majesty's 
court of the King's Bench, next term." 

The intelligence that these venerable prelates 
were about to be committed as prisoners to the 
Tower, flew like wildfire through the town, and 
its effect upon the people is described by his- 
torians as quite electrical. 

*• The people," says Hume, *' were already 
aware of the danger to which the prelates were 
exposed, and were raised to the highest pitch 
of anxiety and attention with regard to the 
issue of this extraordinary affair. But when 
they beheld these fathers of the church brought 
from court under the custody of a guard, when 
they saw them embarked in vessels on the river 
and conveyed towards the Tower, all their af- 
fections for liberty, all their zeal for religion 
blazed up at once, and they flew to behold this 
affecting spectacle. The whole shore was 
covered with crowds of prostrate spectators, 
who at once implored the blessing of those holy 
pastors, and addressed their petitions towards 
heaven, for protection during this extreme 
danger, to which their country and their reli- 
gion stood exposed. Even the soldiers, seized 
with the contagion of the same spirit, flung 
themselves on their knees before the distressed 
prelates, and craved the benediction of those 
criminals whom they were appointed to guard. 


Some persons ran into the water, that they 
might participate more nearly in those blessings 
which the prelates were distributing on all 
around them. The bishops themselves, during 
this triumphant suffering, augmented the gene- 
ral favour by the most lowly submissive deport- 
ment; and they still exhorted the people to fear 
God, honour the king, and maintain their loy- 
alty; expressions more animating than the most 
inflammatory speeches. And no sooner had 
they entered the precincts of the Tower, than 
they hurried to chapel, in order to return thanks 
for those afflictions, which Heaven, in defence 
of its holy cause, had thought them worthy to 

It was remarked at the time, and deemed a 
mark of special providential interference, that 
on the evening of the bishops' commitment, 
when they attended divine service in the cha- 
pel of the Tower, the second lesson was the 
sixth chapter of the Second Epistle to the 
Corinthians, a passage peculiarly applicable to 
them as sufferers for the sake of their ministry.* 

On the days following the arrival of the pre- 
lates at the Tower, persons of all ranks, from 
the highest to the lowest, flocked thither in 

*« See a hand bill, entitled. Great and Good News to the 
Church of England, 1700 


crowds, to proffer their services, to condole witb 
them in their sufferings, to express their g^ti- 
tude and admiration, and to exhort them to 
firm perseverance in the course they had so 
nobly begun. Their friends, at the same time, 
were busily employed in engaging for them the 
most eminent legal assistance, and consulting 
as to the line of defence which it would be most 
advisable for them to take, when their trial 
came on.* 

At last, on Friday the 1 5th of June, being 
the first day of term. Archbishop Sancroft and 
the six bishops were brought from the Tower 
to the court of King's Bench, by writ of Habeas 
Corpus. As they passed by water, they were 

* The imprisonment of the hishops took place at a juncture, 
which admitted of an interpretation unfavourable to James. It 
happened that the queen was delivered of a son^ June lOth^ two 
days after the committal, and thus the attendance of the Arcln 
bishop of Canterbury, customary on such occasions^ was pre-* 
Tented. Rumours were immediately circulated that the birth 
was supposititious ; and the suspicion was added^ in support of 
them, that the king had contrived effectually to prevent the 
presence of the Archbishop, in order to preclude the detection 
of the fraud. The king ordered immediately that a public 
thanksgiving should be observed for the birth of the prince. It 
is customary, on such occasions, for a command to be given to 
the Archbishop of Canterbury to prepare a suitable form of 
prayer ; but, in this instance, on account of the events which 
had taken place, the command was given to Sprat, Bishop of 
Rochester. — See London Gazette. 


J •■ 


greeted with acclamations, and prayers for tkeir 
safety, by the people assembled on each side of 
the river. In their way from the waterside to 
the Hall, the multitude formed a lane for them, 
and begged their blessing. Westminster Hall, 
with the Palace Yards and other places in the 
vicinity of the court, was thronged with vast 
accumulations of people. A number of the 
principal nobility and gentry followed the pre-, 
lates into court. The crisis, to which the in- 
temperate measures of King James were tend- 
ing, seemed to be now arrived ; and the fate of 
the whole nation to rest suspended on the issue 
of this great event. 

Sir Robert Wright was at this time Chief 
Justice of the court of King's Bench, and the 
three puisne judges were named HoUoway, 
Powell and AUybone. The Attorney and Soli- 
citor Generals, Sir Thomas Powys and Sir 
William Williams, took the leading part in the 
conduct of the prosecution. The counsel for 
the prisoners were Sir Robert Sawyer, who. 
had held the office of Attorney General a short 
time before, Mr. Serjeant Pemberton, Mr. 
Finch, Mr. PoUexfen, Mr. Seijeant Levinz, Sir 
George Treby, and Mr. Somers, afterwards the 
famous Lord Somers. 

On the assembling of the court, the Attorney 
General moved that the prisoners should be. 

VOL. I. u 


brought up by writ of habeas corpus. The 
writ was immediately granted, and about eleven 
o'clock the Lieutenant of the Tower brought 
the Archbishop and six Bishops into court. 
They were immediately accommodated with 

On the Attorney General's moving that the 
information should be read, the counsel for the 
accused took two technical exceptions to the 
legality of the instrument under which they 
were committed : the one, that the warrant of 
commitment did not express, on the face of it, 
that the peers who signed it were in council 
assembled ; the other, that the bishops, as peers 
of the realm, ought not to have been committed 
to prison for an offence which was only charged 
as a misdemeanour; they urged that, if their 
commitment was illegal, they were not legally 
in court, and therefore could not answer to the 
information. These objections were, after some 
discussion, overruled, and the information was 
read. After reciting the king's Declaration, and 
the Order in Council for the reading of it in the 
churches, it stated that William, Archbishop of 
Canterbury, and the other bishops, (mentioning 
them by name,) *' consulted and conspired 
amongst one another, to diminish the royal au- 
thority, prerogative and power, and to infringe 
and elude the said order (in council) ; in the pro- 
secution and execution of the said conspiracy> 



did, vi et armis, &c. at Westminster, unlawfully, 
maliciously, seditiously and scandalously fabri- 
cate, compose and write, under the pretence of 
a petition, a certain false, feigned, pernicious 
and seditious libel ; — and the same, subscribed 
with their own hands, did, in the presence of 
the said lord the king, publish, and cause to be 
published, in manifest contempt of our said 
lord the king, and the laws of this kingdom, to 
the evil example of all other delinquents in a 
similar case, and against the peace of the said 
king, &c." 

The counsel for the accused now stated to the 
court, that, as they were then for the first time 
acquainted with the partietilars of the informa- 
tion, they prayed some time might be allowed 
to enable them to prepare their plea against it. 
After some inquiry into the practice of the 
court, this prayer was refused. The Chief 
Justice said, " We have taken all the care we 
can to be satisfied in this matter, and we will 
take care that my lords the bishops shall have 
all justice done them ; nay, they shall have all 
the favour, by my consent, that can be shown 
them, without doing wrong to my master the 
king ; but truly I cannot depart from the course 
of the court in this matter, if the king's counsel 
press it." 

The prelates were accordingly desired tt> 




plead to the information. On this, the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury stood up, and, oflFering a 
paper to the court, said, " My lord, I tender 
here a short plea, a very short one, in behalf of 
myself and my brethren the other defendants ; 
and I humbly desire the court will admit of this 
plea." The Chief Justice asked him whether 
he would stand by this plea. His Grace 
answered, " We will all stand by it, my lord; 
it is subscribed by our counsel, and we pray it 
may be admitted by the court." 

The plea was read ; it merely insisted on the 
ground before taken by their counsel, that they 
ought not to be compelled to answer instantly 
to the information, but should be allowed suffi- 
cient time to prepare their answer. The coun- 
sel for the prosecution immediately protested 
against the admission of this plea, on the ground 
that, as referring to a point already decided, it 
could only be considered as a device for obtain- 
ing a delay of the proceedings. The court 
agreed in this, and the plea was rejected. 

The Archbishop and bishops now severally 
pleaded in the usual form, " Not Guilty," to 
the charge; and the Attorney General gave 
notice that the trial would come on, on that 
day fortnight. The court consented to admit 
the prisoners to bail, on their own recognizance; 
the Archbishop being bound to appear under a 


penalty of £200, and each of the bishops of 
£100. They accordingly left the court, and re- 
tired to their respective homes. The joy of the 
people on seeing the bishops set at liberty cor- 
responded with the deep anxiety and regret 
they had expressed at their imprisonment. 
Great crowds eagerly flocked around them, 
hailing them with loud acclamations and press-* 
ing to receive their benedictions. At night 
public rejoicings were continued, bonfires were 
made in the streets, and the health of the seven 
heroic prelates was drunk with enthusiastic 

It may seem to some extraordinary, that, as 
has just appeared, and as will be seen further 
on the trial, the counsel for the accused should 
catch with such eagerness at every legal objec- 
tion, and at every plea for delay that could be 
started, instead of at once openly soliciting a 
fair and full discussion of the whole transac- 

* Clarendon*s Diary, Friday, June 15. (After entering into 
recc^nizances.) *' And so they went home, -the people in like 
.manner crowding for their blessings. As I was takmg coach 
in the little Palace Yard, by the House of Lords, I found the 
Bishop of St. Asaph in the midst of the crowd> the people 
thinking it a blessing to kiss any of the bishop's hands or gar- 
ments. I took him into my coach, and carried him home to 
my hou8e> but was fain to turn up through Tuttle Street, and 
so to go round the park, to avoid the throng the other W9>J in 
the streets.*' 

u 3 


tion. It may be thought too that persons in the 
grave and dignified situation of these prelates, 
ought not, on the occasion of so serious a charge 
brought against them by their sovereign, to have 
suffered advantage to be taken in their de- 
fence of any technical informality which could 
be discovered; that they should have sought 
no acquittal which did not result from a regu- 
lar and full trial, and which was not attended 
with a clear establishment of their innocence in 
the eyes of the nation. It should be recollected, 
however, on the other side, that not only their 
own personal safety was at stake, but that the 
most important interests of the nation were 
suspended on this trial ; that from the known 
temper and views of the prosecutors it was cer- 
tain they were not seeking the real ends of 
public justice, but were endeavouring, at all 
events, and by all means, by procuring a ver- 
dict against the bishops, to strike a severe blow 
at the church. Thus, as it was not to be 
doubted that advantage would be industriously 
taken of every possible technical objection, to 
the prejudice of the accused, it is clear that a 
fair chance of success would not have been 
given to their cause, if every similar advantage 
had not been taken in their favour. 

On Friday, the 29th of June, the prelates ap- 
peared in court, and the important trial came 


on, amidst a crowd of anxious spectators, 
greater even than on the former occasion. The 
jury appear to have consisted of persons in re- 
spectable circumstances of life. Sir Roger 
Langley, Bart, being their foreman. 

The Attorney General, in opening the plead- 
ings, explained to the jury, that the bishops 
were not prosecuted in their episcopal charac- 
ter, or for a spiritual offence, but as subjects, 
and for a temporal crime — that of injuring and 
affronting his Majesty to his very face, and 
censuring him and his government. ** I can- 
not," he said, " omit to notice, that there is 
nothing the law is more jealous of, than all ac- 
cusations and arraignment of the government. 
No man is allowed to accuse even the most in- 
ferior magistrate of misbehaviour in his office, 
unless it be in a legal course, though the fact 
be true. No man may say to a justice of 
peace to his face, that he is unjust in his office. 
No man may come to a judge, either by word 
or petition, telling him — you have given an un- 
just or an ill judgment, and I will not obey it; 
no man may say of the great men of the nation, 
much less of the great officers of the kingdom, 
that they act unreasonably or unjustly, or the 
like ; least of all, may any man say any such 
^mg of the king, for these matters tend to 
possess the people that the government is ill 



administered ; and the last age aflForded abun- 
dant experience what these discontents tend 
to, and how they end." He then stated that 
his Majesty, having issued a gracious Declara- 
tion for liberty of conscience to his subjects, 
had ordered it to be read in the churches that 
all the people might hear what he had promised 
by his sacred word ; that all the return he had 
received for his gracious kindness was hard 
words and a heavy accusation for that which 
was the effect of his mercy ; that he had re- 
sented this ill usage so far as to order a public 
vindication of his honour by this trial. 

The evidence for the prosecution consisted 
only of the proof of the signature by the bishops, 
of the petition containing the alleged libel, and 
of the publication of it. Some difficulty oc- 
curred on each of these points. After attempts 
that were not satisfactory to the court to prove 
their signatures from persons who were well 
acquainted with their hand writings, at last a 
clerk of the privy council was produced, who 
attested that the bishops had themselves owned 
their signatures before the privy council. On 
the subject of the publication of the alleged 
libel, the counsel for the accused contended, 
that, although the bishops had subscribed the 
paper, still it might have reached the king 
without their knowledge and consent. The 


clerks of the privy council could only state their 
belief and not their knowledge that the bishops 
had presented it : the court held that this was 
not such proof as could be admitted in a court 
of law, and the chief justice was about to sum 
up for an acquittal, when it occurred to the 
conductors of the prosecution to send for the 
Earl of Sunderland, president of the privy 
council, the person who had introduced the 
bishops to the king to deliver their petition. 
The earl quickly appeared in the court: his 
statement was admitted as sufficient proof of 
the publication, and the case was closed on the 
part of the prosecution. 

The defence of the bishops was conducted 
by their counsel with great spirit and ability. 
They represented that, whereas these reverend 
persons stood accused of having published a 
false, malicious, and seditious libel against the 
king, nothing could be further from deserving 
such epithets than the petition which they had 
presented. It was expressed in the most hum- 
ble and respectful terms, and presented to the 
king in the most private manner. It was merely 
a prayer to be excused from complying with a 
measure with which they felt that in prudence 
and honour and conscience they could not 
comply. Every subject is allowed to petition 
the king: as bfshops, they were particularly 


charged with the care and execution of those 
laws which concerned the welfare of the church ; 
and therefore, when they saw that measures 
were pursued by the government which they, 
in the exercise of their soundest judgment, 
deemed an infraction of those laws, they would 
have been wanting to the duties of their high 
office, if they had not freely expressed their 
opinion. There was nothing in the matter of 
the petition, in the words in which it was ex- 
pressed, or in the manner in which it was pre- 
sented, that could support the charge founded 
upon it — of their having been guilty of publish- 
ing a false, malicious, and seditious libel. 

But the substance of their defence was made 
to rest on a topic, which, above every other, it 
was least convenient to the government to have 
prominently brought forward for public dis- 
cussion ; viz. the legality of the power of dis- 
pensing with penal laws, the claim to which, 
on the part of the king, had led to the present 
proceedings. The main feature of the charge 
brought against the prelates was the attempt 
to diminish the king's prerogative and privi- 
leges. Now, as the only part of his prero- 
gative to which any reference was made in 
their petition was this dispensing power, it was 
clear that this was intended in the charge. 
The most effectual mode, therefore, of doing 


away the charge was to prove that the crown 
had no valid pretension to this power, as a part 
of its prerogative. On this topic the counsel 
for the accused argued with great eflfect and suc- 
cess. — " If, they said, the laws are suspended 
by virtue of the king's declaration, the conse- 
quence is indeed most dismal to the whole na- 
tion, and it well behoved these fathers of the 
church to represent it to the king. The princi- 
ple once established, the application of it might 
be carried to any extent ; and thus, by the sole 
power of the king, any laws enacted by the 
authority of parliament might be rendered null 
and void by the suspension of their operation.*' 

" This declaration of the king," said Mr. Finch, 
one of the counsel, " is founded on a power 
of dispensing, which undertakes to suspend all 
laws ecclesiastical whatsoever; for not coming 
to church, or not receiving the sacrament, or 
any other non-conformity to the religion esta- 
blished; as if the king had a power to suspend 
at once all the laws relating to the established 
religion, and all the laws that were made for the 
security of our Reformation. 

" Now, my lord, I have always taken it, with 
submission, that a power to abrogate laws is as 
much a part of the legislature, as a power to 
make laws. A power to lay laws asleep, and 
to suspend them, is equal to a power of abro- 


gating them ; for they are no longer in being, as 
laws, while they are so laid asleep or sus- 
pended ; and to abrogate all at once, or do it 
time after time is the same thing; but both 
equally belong to the legislature, not to the 
king alone. 

" My lord, in all the education that I have 
had, in all the small knowledge of the laws that 
I could attain to, I could never yet hear or 
learn, that the constitution of this government 
in England was otherwise than thus, that the 
whole legislative power is in the king, lords, 
and commons ; the king and his two houses of 
parliament. But then, if this declaration be 
founded upon a part of the legislature, which 
must be by all men acknowledged not to reside 
in the king alone, but in the king, lords, and 
commons, it cannot be a legal and true power 
or prerogative." 

" Such a dispensing power," said Serjeant 
Pemberton, " strikes at the very foundation of 
all the rights, liberties, and properties of the 
king's subjects. If the king may suspend the 
laws of the land which concern our religion, I 
am sure there is no other law that he may not 
suspend : and, if the king may suspend all the 
laws of the kingdom, in what a condition are 
all the subjects for their lives, liberties and prq- 
perties! — All are at his mercy. 

LtFE OF Archbishop sancroft. 301 

" My lord, the king's legal prerogatives are 
as much for the advantage of his subjects as 
of himself; and no man goes about to speak 
against them. But, under pretence of legal 
prerogatives, to extend the power of the king, 
to support a prerogative that tends to the de- 
struction of all his subjects, their religion and 
liberties, in that, I think, those Mrho attempt it 
do the king no service. 

" But now, we say, with your lordships' 
favour, that these laws are the great bulwark of 
the reformed religion; they are, in truth, that 
which fenceth the religion and church of Eng- 
land ; and we have no other human fence be- 
sides. They were made upon a foresight of 
the mischief that had, and might, come by false 
religions in this kingdom ; and they were in- 
tended to defend the nation against them, and 
to keep them out; particularly to keep out the 
Romish religion, which is the very worst of all 
religions. My lord, if this declaration should 
take eflfect, what would be the end of it? All 
religions would be let in, be they what they 
will. Ranters, Quakers, and the like ; nay, even 
the Roman Catholic religion (as they call it), 
which was intended, by these acts of parlia- 
ment, and by the act of nonconformity and 
several other acts, to be kept out of this nation. 


as a religion no way tolerable^ nor to be endured 

The learned counsel further proceeded to 
show, by bringing as evidence the records of 
thp houses of parliament, that the king pos- 
sesses no such prerogative of suspending the 
laws; that in the reign of Richard II. parlia- 
ment gave the king a power to dispense for a 
time witlj the statute of provisors, declaring, at 
the same time, that this very grant of their own 
was a novelty, and should not be drawn into a 
precedent; a circumstance which clearly proves 
that this power did not then belong to the 
crown: that twice in the late reign, in 1662 
and 1672, the power of suspending penal laws 
had been pretended to by the sovereign ; but in 
each case it had drawn such strong remon- 
strances from the houses of parliament, that it 
was no longer insisted on. In the former of 
the two years, the king, in addressing parlia- 
ment, used this remarkable expression — " If 
the Dissenters will demean themselves peacea- 
bly and modestly under the government, I 
could heartily wish that I had such a power of 
indulgence to use upon occasion;" an expres- 
sion which implied his full knowledge and per- 
suasion that he did not possess the power. In 
1672, after strong remonstrances from parlia- 


ment, the king cancelled the declaration he had 
issued for the suspension of penal laws, and in 
a public address gave his faithful promise, that 
what had been done in that particular should 
not be drawn either into consequence or ex- 

In conclusion of the defence, Mr. Somers 
said, " By the law of all civilized nations, if the 
.prince does require something to be done^ 
which the person who is to do it takes to be 
unlawful, it is not only lawful, but his duty, re- 
scribere principi; this is all that is done here ; 
and that, in the most humble manner that can 
be thought of. They did not interpose by 
giving their advice as peers ; they never stirred 
till it was brought home to themselves ; when 
they made their petition, all they begged was, 
that it might not be so far insisted upon by his 
Majesty, as to oblige them to read it ; whatever 
they thought of it, they did not take upon them 
to desire the Declaration to be revoked. 

" My lord, as to matters of fact alleged in 
the said petition, that they are perfectly true, 
we have shown by the journals of both houses. 
In every one of those years which are men- 
tioned in the petition, this power of dis- 
pensation was considered in parliament, and 
upon debate declared to be contrary to law: 
there could be no design to diminish the pre- 


rogative, because the king hath no such pre^ 

" Seditious, my lord, it could not be, nor 
could it possibly stir up sedition in the minds 
of the people, because it was presented to the 
king, in private and alone : false it could not 
be, because the matter of it is true. There 
could be nothing of malice, for the occasion 
was not sought, the thing was pressed upon 
them; and a libel it could not be, because the 
intent was innocent, and they kept within the 
bounds set by the act of parliament, that gives 
the subject leave to apply to his prince by pe- 
tition when he is aggrieved." 

After this triumphant defence, a reply was 
attempted on the part of the prosecution. It 
was principally insisted on, that the king did 
possess the prerogative of dispensing with 
penal laws; that what passed in the years 1662 
and 1672 amounted not to any authoritative 
decision or enactment on the subject, but was 
merely an expression of the opinion of the 
houses of parliament; that, under all the cir- 
cumstances, the king gave way to this opinion so 
declared, but that this did not amount to a per- 
manent surrender of the prerogative. It was 
further contended that, as to the malicious and 
seditious nature of the libel, the law always, 
held an act which was illegal to be done with 


an evil intent, and this was all that was meant 
by these epithets ; that jbl greater reflexion on 
the government could scarcely be conceived 
than that conveyed in the assertion of the 
bishops, that what they were required to do 
was against prudence, honour, and conscience ; 
that no greater proof could be desired of the 
tendency of their conduct to inflame the 
public mind, and raise jealousy and discon- 
tents» than the sight of the crowd which now 
surrounded the court of justice, and the cha- 
racter of the harangues which had been made 
in their defence; that their right to petition, as 
subjects and as peers, was unquestioned, but 
furnished no excuse for libelling the king by a 
petition containing matter reproachful or scan- 
dalous, and should afford them no exemption 
from punishment. 

The chief justice summed up the evidence, 
and declared his opinion that the petition 
amounted to a libel ; Justice Allybone agreed 
with him ; but the other two judges, Holloway 
and Powel, pronoimced it to be no libel. The 
latter, in particular, stated his opinion in very 
strong and pointed terms, that it did not partake 
of the character of a libel in any one of its fea- 
tures, in being either false, malicious, or sediti- 
ous ; that the king possessed no dispensing power, 

VOL. I. X 


and therefore, that his declaration founded on 
such pretended power was illegal. 

The trial lasted during the whole day. In 
the evening, the jury were desired to retire 
and consider of their verdict. They remained 
together* in close consultation all night, with- 

* The following note was written to the Archbishop of Can- 
terbury by Mr. Ince^ his Solicitor, who had been in attendance 
at the court where the jury were confined during the whole 
night. It is a very curious document, as attesting the custom 
which appears then to have prevailed of giving fees to the jmy- 
men by the party in favour of whom they bronght in their ver- 
dict. It is dated '* six o'clock, in the morning, 30 June, 1688, 
at the Bell Tavern, King-Street. 

'* May it please your Grace, 

" We have watched the jury all night carefully, at- 
tending without the door on the stair head. They have by 
order been kept all night without fire or candle, bread, drink, 
tobacco, or any other reiBreshment whatever, save only basons 
of water and towels this morning about four. 

*' The officers and our own servants, and others hired by us 
to watch the officers, have and shaU constantly attend, but must 
be supplied with fresh men to relieve our guards, if need be. 

" I am informed by my servant and Mr. Grange's, that, about 
midnight, they were very loud one among another; and the 
like happened about three this morning j which makes me col- 
lect they are not yet agreed 3 they beg for a candle to light their 
pipes, but are denied. 

'^ In case a verdict pass for us (which (rod grant in his own 
best time), the present consideration will be, how the jury shall 
be treated. The course is usuaUy each man so many guineas. 


out fire or candle ; great difference of opinion 
appears to have prevailed among them from the 
length of time which elapsed before they came 
to an agreement : persons who were appointed 
to watch them reported that, about midnight, and 
also about three o'clock in the morning, they 
were overheard to be engaged in loud and eager 

and a common dinner for them all. The quantum is at your 
Grace's and my Lords* direction. But it seems to my poor un- 
derstanding, that the dinner might be spared, lest our watchful 
enemies interpret our entertainment of the jury for a public 
exultation and a seditious meetings and so it may be ordered 

thus : — ^Each man guineas for his trouble, and each 

man a guinea over for his own desire ; with my Lords* order, 
that I or soo&e other entreat them, in your names, not to dine 
together, for the reasons aforesaid. I conceive, my lords, the 
bishops will resolve how to direct me in this point, before they 
come into court. There were twenty- two of the jury appeared 
and no more ; and they that did not serve will expect a reward 
as well as those who did. 

" I beg your Grace's pardon for this trouble ; it is only to 
enable my Lords to consult what is fit to do decently on our 
part; and all is submitted to your Grace's and my Lords* 

judgment by, 

" My Lord, . 

" Your Grace's most humble Servant, 

" Jo. Incb. 

" P S. Just now the officer brings me word they are all agreed, 
and are sending to my Lord Chief Justice to know where he 
pleases to take their verdict. There must be an hundred and 
fifty or two hundred guineas provided.** — See Tanner's MSS 
V. 28. p. 83. 



debate. About six o'clock they sent a message 
to the chief justice to state they were all agreed. 
In consequence, at ten the prelates were brought 
into court, and the jury through their foreman 
brought in their verdict Not Guilty.* 

" The moment the verdict was pronounced, 
there was a wonderful shout/' says the Earl of 
Clarendon, who was present, ** that one would 
have thought the hall had cracked.** '' The 

* A minKte and particnlar account exists in Tanner's MSS. 
▼. 28. Nos. 1, 84, 86, 150. of the charges incnrred dming the 
prosecution, trial, &c. (^ the bishops, and of the assesnnent 
made upon diem in proportion to their incomes, for defraying 
them. — ^The whole of the charges amounts to ^614. Bs.^rj 
and this sum was levied by assessing them severally as follows : 

£. 9. d. 

Archbbhop of Canterbury, for £4000 per ann. 260 

Bishop of St. Asaph . . . £ 700 . 

Ely £2000 . 

Chichester . . . £ 770 . 

Bath and Wells . £ 900 . 

Peterborough . . £ 630 . 

Bristol .... £ 350 . 

The Bishop of Norwich made a free gifi of £5 towards the 

It has sometimes been stated, that the lawyers who were em- 
ployed in the defence oi the bishops refused to take any fees. 
This, however, was not the fact. Many items are set down in 
the account of fees to each of them, of ten guineas, five gui- 
neas, &c. Only, in one instance, it is mentioned that Mr. 
nnch and Sir Robert Sawyer refused a fee of twenty gui« 
neas, which was given to the rest. 

uin. 260 

16 8 

. . 45 

12 11 

. . 130 

8 4 

. . 50 


. . 58 

8 6| 

. . 41 

5 7k 

. . 22 

16 5i 


loud shouts and joyful acclamations of the vast 
numbers assembled were, as Sir John Reresby 
expresses, a rebellion in noise, though not in 
intention." The tumultuous sounds of tri- 
umphant joy extended rapidly from the town 
to the country, and a well known expression of 
King James's is preserved, on hearing acclama- 
tions even among the soldiers in his camp at 
Hounslow. He was told by his general Lord 
Feversham, of whom he had inquired the cause 
of the noise, that it was nothing but the re- 
joicing of the soldiers for the acquittal of the 
bishops. *Do you call that nothing?' he re- 
plied, * but so much the worse for them/ Bon- 
fires were made, and the bells of all the churches 
rung, not only in London, but in the greater 
part of the country towns, as soon as the intel- 
ligence of the acquittal reached them, although 
the strictest orders were given to prevent such 
proceedings. So strong was the general feel- 
ing, that though several were kidicted at the 
next sessions for Middlesex for riotous beha- 
viour,* yet the grand jury would not find bills 
against them, although they were sent out no lesa 
than three times. It is stated further, that the 
churches in London were crowded on that fore- 
noon with multitudes eager to pour forth the over- 

* Sec Rcrcsby's Memoirs. 



flowings of their gratitude to God for this great 
deliverance. " O ! what a sight was that!" says 
Nichols,* " to behold the people crowding into 
the churches to return thanks to God for so 
great a blessing, with the greatest earnestness 
and ecstacy of joy, lifting up their hands to 
heaven; to see illuminations in every window, 
and bonfires at every door, and to hear the bells 
throughout all the city ringing out peals of joy 
for the wonderful deliverance." 

The prelates themselves, immediately after 
their acquittal, went to Whitehall chapel to re- 
turn thanks. It happened to be St. Peter's day, 
and it was remarked,t that the Epistle was sin- 
gularly appropriate, being part of the 12th chap- 
ter of the Acts, recording Peter's miraculous 
deliverance from prison. They then returned to 
their respective homes, followed by the accla- 
mations of the multitude. 

Congratulations, as may be supposed, flowed 
in upon the Archbishop, and the bishops who 
were associated with him, from various quar- 
ters. Among others, the Prince of Orange, who, 
least of all, could be indifferent to the event of 

* See Nichols's Introduction to Defence of the Church of 
England, p. 106. 

t Sec a handbill " Great and good news to the Church of 
England." 1700. 


this trial, sent to congratulate with him and the 
other bishops, through Compton, Bishop of 
London, with whom he at that time maintained 
a correspondence. The following is an extract 
from the bishops' answer to the prince, which 
happens to be preserved. 

" July 28th, 1688. 

" The honour your Royal Highness 

did me in laying the charge upon me to com- 
municate to my lords the bishops how much 
you are concerned in their behalf, had its just 
effect upon them ; for they are highly sensible 
of the great advantage both they and the church 
have, by the firmness of so powerful a friend ; 
and, as I dare undertake, they shall never 
make an ill use of it, so I am very sure they 
will entirely rely upon it on all just occasions. 
I dare likewise take upon me to assure you, that 
both they that suffered and the rest who con- 
curred with them are so well satisfied of the 
justice of their cause, that they will lay down 
their lives before they will in the least depart 
from it."* 

The Archbishop's intimate friend, and subse- 
quent fellow-sufferer in deprivation, Dr. Lloyd, 
Bishop of Norwich, thus expressed the warmth 
of his feelings on the gratifying occasion. f 

* Sec Maqih. State Papers, t Tann. MSS. v. 28. No. 89. 



" Norw. July 2d, 1(588. 

" May it please your Grace, 

** To give me leave, among the thousands 
in these parts, heartily to congratulate with you 
and your late companions in trouble, for the 
most joyful and acceptable news we had this 
day by the post ; namely, your acquittal from 
crime endeavoured to be fixed upon you. I do 
assure your Grace it hath mightily revived our 
drooping spirits ; and I beseech God to make 
us all truly sensible of, and sincerely thankful 
for, so great a mercy. I know your Grace hath 
now work enough upon your hands; and there- 
fore it would be the greatest impertinency to 
interrupt you upon those great afiairs. Where- 
fore I heartily bless God for your safety, and 
thereby for his great and singular mercies 
vouchsafed to his church ; and am, as in duty 


** Your Grace's 

" Most obedient Servant, 

" William Norwich.'^ 

The following letter* from Sir George Mac- 
kenzie to the Archbishop is remarkable, as at- 
testing the interest which the Presbyterians of 
Scotland took in the stand made by the English 
bishops against the encroachments of Popery. 

* Tann. MSS. v. 28. No. 88. 

life of archbishop sancroft. 313 

" May it please your Grace, 

" It will doubtless be strange news 
to hear that the bishops of England are in great 
veneration among the Presbyterians of Scot- 
land; and I am glad that reason has retained 
so much of its old empire amongst men. But 
I hope it will be no news to your Grace, to hear 
that no man was more concerned in the safety 
of your consciences and persons than, may it 
please your Grace, 

" Your Grace's 

" Most humble Servant, 
" Geo. Mackenzie.** 

Nothing indeed could exceed the enthusiastic 
reverence and admiration with which the seven 
prelates were at this time viewed by the whole 
nation. They were hailed as the great cham- 
pions of the liberties of their coxmtry. Their 
portraits were seen in every shop, and eagerly 
bought up ; medals were struck to commemo- 
rate the great occasion of their trial and deli- 
verance; they were compared to the seven 
golden candlesticks, and were called the seven 
stars of the Protestant church. Every thing 
conspired to show how strongly the public feel- 
ing was now excited by the intemperate and 
illegal measures of James, and gave no doubtful 


presage of the important change which was at 

It is scarcely possible to conceive a more im- 
prudent or impolitic measure than this of bring- 
ing the bishops to a public trial. It contributed, 
there can be little doubt, more than any other 
single event, to produce the revolution that 
ensued, by inflaming to an extraordinary degree 
the ferment in the public mind against the ar- 
bitrary proceedings of James. The personal 
virtue,s and unoffending demeanour of the pre- 
lates, the respectful terms in which their peti- 
tion was drawn up, viewed in comparison with 
the harshness and indignity with which they 
were treated, contributed no less than the po- 
pularity of the cause itself, to excite most 
strongly the public feeling in their favour. 
Even had . the court party succeeded in pro- 
curing the conviction of the'bishops, they would 
undoubtedly have lost more by the increased 
ferment in the public mind, than they would 
have gained by the triumph of success. But, 
as the matter really ended, covering the pro- 
moters of the prosecution with disappointment, 
and affording the warmest exultation to the ac- 
cused, it gave confidence and boldness to the 
opponents of the government measures, and 
carried the tide of popular feeling with them in 


a manner which could not afterwards be re- 

* King James soofl became sensible of the error he had com- 
mitted in the prosecution of the bbhops. Lord Clarendon^ in 
his Diary, (July 5 th) states as follows : 

'' In the morning I was with my Lord Chancellor : he told 
me he found the king a little troubled that the bishops had been 
brought to their trial ; that he seemed to be in a milder temper 
than he had been ; and he hoped he might be persuaded to take 
moilerate counsels. Now, says my Lord, honest men, both lords 
and others, (though the king had used them hardly,) should ap- 
pear often at court 3 I am sure it would do good. He advised 
I would sometimes come to him, that by me he might have a 
correspondence with the Archbishop, which it was yet too soon 
for him to have openly." It is curious to observe James's own 
remarks on this affair of the bishops in his Life of Himself, (see 
Macpherson's State Papers, v. i. 151.) " The bishops address 
against it (the declaration for liberty of conscience), thinking it 
illegal to dispense with all sort of laws, in cases contrary to the 
very designs of the law. The chancellor advised the king to 
summon the bishops before the council: they, perhaps, had 
some motive in forcing the king to imprison them, for he would 
not only have taken their recognizance, but even their word, for 
their appearance : both were refused, because an imprisonment 
would inflame the nation, and prevent the archbishop from be- 
ing at the queen's delivery.'* — It appears from the account be- 
fore given of the bishops* appearance before the privy council, 
that the above statement is not quite correct -, at least, they did 
not understand that they might be sfet at liberty on giving their 
word for their appearance. In another passage, (Macpherson, 
V. i. 152.) the king accounts for his own precipitate and rash 
conduct in the following remarkable passage. 

" In the case of the bishops, there is no doubt that the king 
had done better in not forcing some wheels when he found the 


whole machine stop. But it was liis misfortune to give too 
much ear to the pernicious advice of those who put him upon 
such dangerous counsels^ with intent to widen the breach be- 
tweeen him and his subjects. But hb prQxMsession against the 
yielding temper which had proved so dangerous to his brother, 
and fatal to the king his father^ fixed him in a contrary method 
He had always preached against the wavering councils of his 
brother^ and seeing that other bishops made not the same diffi- 
culty, and since many complied, he thought the rest ought to do 
the same. The king therefore gave more easily in to the chan- 
cellors opinion, who thought that a mere reprimand was not 
sufficient. It was, however, a fatal counsel : for, besides the 
common reasons against it, nothing ought to have made the 
king more cautious in the matter, than the present conjuncture, 
on account of the queen's being with child. It was that gave 
the alarm, and by consequence, required greater attention to 
avoid every cause of complaint.'* 

The French king, as might be expected, was not backward m 
applauding the conduct of King James on this occasion. Skel- 
ton, the ambassador at Paris, in a letter to Lord Sunderland, 
June 16th, 1688, says, ^^ His Christian Majesty was pleased to 
take notice to me of the imprisonment of the bishops, and very 
much applauds the king's resolution in that affisdr, and said he 
was ready to give his Majesty all manner of assistance. — See 
Macpherson's State Papers, vol. i. p. 264. 





Articles of Ifutnictkn/rom the Archbishop to the Clergy — Scheme 
of Camprehenskm projected by him — Progress of things towards 
the Revobttum — King James sends for the Archbishop and other 
Bishops — The Archbishop's Address of Adoice to him — Conse- 
quences of this Adoice — Umbrage given by these Interviews— 
Letter of Mr. Evelyn to the Archbishop on the Subject. 

Perhaps there are not many persons, who, 
had they been circumstanced as King James 
now was, would not have felt the necessity, 
after the failure in this important affair of the 
bishops' trial, and on perceiving the inflamed 
state to which the public mind was brought, of 
endeavouring to retrace the false steps they had 
made, and to regain, by measures of concilia- 
tion, their Tost popularity. But the effect on 
the mind of James was the very reverse. 
Either from the impulse of his own headstrong 
temper, and from the prejudice which, as he 
acknowledges himself, he had conceived against 
every thing that could seem to result from a 


yielding disposition, or from the violent counsels 
of those who were too much blinded by bi- 
gotted zeal to perceive the certain consequences 
of the measures they recommended, he not 
only showed no symptoms of altering his course 
of conduct, but evinced a positive determina- 
tion to persevere in it to the utmost. On the 
7th of July,* eight days after the trial, he dis- 
missed from their situations the two judges, 
HoUoway and Powel, who had committed the 
offence of delivering opinions, favourable to the 
acquittal of the bishops. Also, on the 12th* of 
the same month, the ecclesiastical commis- 
sioners issued an order, directing aU chancel- 
lors, archdeacons, &c. to send in to them, forth- 
with, the names of all the parochial clergy who 
had omitted to read the king's Declaration. 
This was manifestly done for the purpose of in- 
timidation. The 16th of August was the day ap- 
pointed for receiving those returns. But the 
clergy wholly slighted the order ; the commis- 
sioners met, and no returns were made: they 
contented themselves with making a fresh order 
for making the returns by the 16th of Novem- 
ber. In the mean time, the CommissioQ was 
dissolved, and the near approach of the Revo- 
lution put. an end to the affair. 

* See the London Gazettes for July, 1688. 


At an early period after this prosecution. 
Archbishop Bancroft gave sufficient proof that 
he was not to be daunted by the frowns of 
power from doing his duty in that manner 
which his conscience dictated. In the middle 
of the ensuing July, he issued the following ad- 
monitions to the clergy of his province, through 
the bishops ; in which he not only called them 
to the discharge of their pastoral duties in ge- 
neral, with that diligence, zeal, and discretion, 
which the existing condition of the church de- 
manded, but especially pressed upon them the 
necessity of vigilance against the attempts of 
Popish emissaries, who were at this time ac- 
tively employed in seducing the people from 
the faith and service of the Protestant church. 

In the printed copies, these articles of ad- 
vice are introduced by the following letter. By 
whom, or to whom it is written, does not ap- 

" London, July 27th, 1688. 

" Sir, 

" Yesterday the Archbishop of Can- 
terbury delivered the articles which I send you 
enclosed, to those bishops who are present in 
this place; and ordered copies of them to be 
likewise sent in his name to the absent bishops. 
By the contents of them, you will see that the 
storm, in which he is, does not frighten him from 


doing his duty ; but rather awakens him to do 
it with so much the more vigour ; and^ indeed, 
the zeal that he expresses in these articles, 
both against the corruptions of the church of 
Rome on the one hand, and the unhappy dif- 
ferences that are among Protestants on the 
other, are such apostolical things, that all good 
men rejoice to see so great a prelate at the head 
of our church, who, in this critical time, has 
had the courage to do his duty in so signal a 


" I am. Sir, 

" Yours/* 

Some heads of things to be more fully insisted upon 
by the Bishops in their Addresses to the Clergy 
and People of their respective Dioceses. 

I. That the Clergy often read over the forms 
of their ordination ; and seriously consider what 
solemn vows and professions they made therein 
to God and his church, together with the se- 
veral oaths and subscriptions they have taken 
and made upon divers occasions. 

II. That, in compliance with those and other 
obligations, they be active and zealous in all the 
parts and instances of their duty, and espe- 
cially strict and exact in all holy conversation, 
that so they may become examples to the flock. 


III. To this end, that they be constantly 
resident upon their cures in their incumbent 
hpuses, and keep sober hospitality there, ac- 
cording to their ability. 

IV. That they diligently catechise the chil- 
dren and youth of their parishes, (as the rubric 
of the Common Prayer Book and the 59th canon 
enjoin,) and so prepare them to be brought in 
due time to confirmation, when there shall be 


opportunity: and that they also at the same 
time expound the grounds of religion and the 
common Christianity in the method of the Ca- 
techism, for the instruction and benefit of the 
whole parish, teaching them what they are to 
believe, and what to do, and what to pray for; 
and particulairly often and earnestly inculcating 
upon them the importance and obligation of 
their baptismal vows. 

V. That they perform the daily office pub- 
licly (with all decency, affection, and gravity,) 
in all market and other great towns ; and even in 
villages and less populous places, bring people 
to public prayers as frequently as may be ; es- 
pecially on such days and at such times as the 
rubric and canons appoint; on holy days, and 
their eves, on Ember and Rogation days, on 
Wednesdays and Fridays in each week, espe-i 
cially in Advent and Lent. 

VOL. I. V 


VI. That they use their utmost endeavour, 
both in their sermons and by private applica- 
tions, to prevail with such of their flock as are 
of competent age to receive frequently the Holy 
Communion ; and to this end, that they admi- 
nister it in the greater towns once in every 
month, and even in the lesser too, if communi- 
cants may be procured, or, however, as often 
as they may : and that they take all due care, 
both by preaching and otherwise, to prepare all 
for the worthy receiving of it. 

VII . That in their sermons they teach and 
inform their people (four times a year at the 
least, as the first canon requires,) that all usurped 
and foreign jurisdiction is, for most just causes, 
taken away and abolished in this realm, and no 
manner of obedience or subjection due to the 
same, or to any that pretend to act by virtue of 
it; but that, the king's power being in his domi- 
nions highest under God, they upon all occa- 
sions persuade the people to loyalty and obedi- 
ence to his Majesty in all things lawful, and to 
patient submission in the rest ; promoting (as 
far as in them lies) the public peace, and quiet 
of the world. 

VIII. That they maintain fair correspondence 
(full of the kindest respects of all sorts) with 
the gentry and persons of quality in their neigh* 


bourhoody as being sensible what seasonable ^ 

assistance and countenance this poor church 
hath received from them in her necessities. 

IX. That they often exhort all those of our 
communion to continue stedfast to the end in 
their most holy faith, and constant to their pro- 
fession; and to that end, to take heed of all 
seducers, and especially of Popish emissaries, 
who are now in great numbers gone forth 
amongst them, and more busy and active than 
ever. And that they take all occasions to con^ 
vince our own, that it is not enough for them 
to be members of an excellent church, rightly 
and duly reformed, both in faith and worship, 
unless they do also reform and amend their 
own lives, and so order their conversation in all 
things as becomes the Gospel of Christ. 

X. And forasmuch as those Romish emissa- 
ries, like the old serpent, insidiantur calcaneo, 
are wont to be most busy and troublesome to our 
people at the end of their lives, labouring to un- 
settle and perplex them in time of sickness, and 
at the hour of death ; that therefore all who have 
the cure of souls, be more especially vigilant 
over them at that dangerous season; that they 
stay not till they be sent for, but inquire out 
the sick in their respective parishes, and visit 
them frequently : that they examine them par- 



ticularly concerning the state of their souls, and 
instruct them in their duties, and settle them in 
their doubts, and comfort them in their sorrows 
and sufferings, and pray often with them and for 
them; and by all the methods which our church 
prescribes, prepare them for the due and worthy 
receiving of the Holy Eucharist, the pledge of 
their happy resurrection: thus with their ut- 
most diligence watching over every sheep with- 
in their fold (especially in that critical moment) 
lest those evening wolves devour them. 

XL That they also walk in wisdom towards 
those that are not of our communion; and if 
there be in their parishes any such, that they 
neglect not frequently to confer with them in 
the spirit of meekness, seeking by all good 
ways and means to gain and win them over to 
our communion : more especially, that they have 
a very tender regard to our brethren the Pro- 
testant Dissenters ; that upon occasion offered, 
they visit them at their houses, and receive 
them kindly at their own, and treat them fairly 
wherever they meet them, discoursing calmly 
and civilly with them ; persuading them (if it 
may be) to a full compliance with our church, 
or at least that " whereto we have already 
attained, we may all walk by the same rule, 
and mind the same thing." And in order here- 
unto, that they take all opportunities of assu- 


ring and convincing them, that the Bishops of 
this church are really and sincerely irrecon- 
cilable enemies to the errors, superstitions, 
idolatries, and tyrannies of the church of Rome; 
and that the very unkind jealousies which some 
have had of us to the contrary, were altogether 
groundless. And, in the last place, that they , 
warmly and most affectionately exhort them to 
join with us in daily fervent prayer to the God 
of Peace, for the universal blessed union of all 
reformed churches both at home and abroad 
against our common enemies ; that all they, who 
do confess the holy name of our dear Lord, and 
do agree in the truth of his holy word, may also 
meet in one holy communion, and live in per- 
fect unity and godly love. 

The Protestant Dissenters showed at this 
time a peculiarly mild disposition towards the 
Established Church, partly from the pressing 
danger of Popery, which naturally tended to 
unite all Protestants in mutual good feeling, 
and in views of mutual support; and partly 
from the admiration and gratitude which they 
felt for the firm and dignified stand which the 
members of the church had made, so much to 
their honour, both by their unanswerable writ- 
ings and by their public measures, against the 
designs of the Roman Catholics. In conse- 



quence of this temper now displayed by the 
Protestant Dissenters, Archbishop Sancroft 
was induced to set on foot a scheme of compre- 
hension,* in which his purpose seems to have 
been, to make such alterations in the Liturgy 
and in the discipline of the church, in points 
not deemed of essential and primary importance, 
as might prove the means, through correspond- 
ing concessions on the part of the more mode- 
rate dissenters, of admitting them within its 
pale. It were to be wished, as matter of curious 
information, that we possessed more knowledge 
than has reached us, of the details of the plan 
which he proposed, and of the extent to which 
he proceeded in it. Our principal information 
respecting it is derived from the speech of Dr. 
Wake, delivered by him some years after, when 
Bishop of Lincoln, at the trial of Dr. Sache- 
verel. This prelate, in consequence of the mis- 
representations which were industriously made 
of this scheme, which had been termed a po- 
pular engine to pull down the church, was in- 
duced to enter into a short detail of what had 
really been intended. He stated,! that the 
person who first concerted this Supposed design 
against our church was the late most reverend 

See Ecbard, p. 1107. f See Sacheverel's Trial. 


Dr. Sancroft, then Archbishop of Canterbury. 
" The time was towards the end of the late 
unhappy reign, when we were in the height of 
our labours in defending the Church of England 
against the assaults of Popery, and thought of 
nothing else. At this time, that wise prelate^ 
foreseeing a revolution such as that which soon 
after occurred, began to consider how utterly 
unprepared they had been at the Restoration 
of King Charles II. to settle many things to the 
advantage of the church ; and what a happy 
opportunity had been lost, for want of such 
previous care, for its more perfect establish- 
ment. It was visible to all the nation, that the 
more moderate • Dissenters were generally so 
well satisfied with that stand which our divines 
had made against Popery, and the many un- 
answerable treatises they had published in con- 
futation of it, as to express an unusual readiness 
to come in to us. And it was therefore thought 
worth while, when they were deliberating 
about those other matters, to consider at the 
same time what might be done to gain them 
without doing any prejudice to ourselves." 

" The scheme," he proceeds, ** was laid out, 

and the several parts of it were committed, not 

only with the approbation, but by the direc- 

, tion, of that great prelate, to such of our divines 

as were thought most worthy to be intrusted 



with it. His Grace took one part himself; 
another was committed to a pious and reverend 
person, (Dr. Patrick,) then a dean, and after- 
wards a bishop of our church. The reviewing 
of the daily service of our Liturgy and the 
Communion-book was referred to a select num- 
ber of excellent persons, two of whom are at 
this time upon our bench, (the Archbishop of 
York,* and the Bishop of Ely ,t) and, I am sure, 
will bear witness to the truth of my relation. 
The design was, in short, this : to improve, and, 
if possible, amend our discipline ; to review and 
enlarge our Liturgy by correcting some things, 
by adding others, and, if it should be thought 
advisable by authority, when this matter should 
be legally considered, first in Convocation, then 
in Parliament, by omitting some few ceremonies 
which are allowed to be indifferent in their na- 
ture, also indifferent in their usage, so as not to 
make them of necessity binding on those who 
had conscientious scruples respecting them, till 
they should be able to overcome either their 
weaknesses or their prejudices respecting them, 
and be willing to comply." 

" How far this good design was not only 
known to, but approved by, the other fathers of 
our church, that famous petition for which 

* Dr. J. Sharp, f Dr. J. Moore. 


seven of them were committed to the Tower, 
and which contributed so much to our deliver- 
ance, may suflSce to show. * The willingness 
they there declared of coming to such a temper 
as should be thought fit, with the Dissenters, 
when that matter should be considered and 
settled in Parliament and Convocation,' mani- 
festly referred to what was then known to se- 
veral, if not all, of the subscribers, to have been 
at that very time under deliberation. And, 
that nothing more was intended than has been 
stated, is no less evident from what was pub- 
licly declared in a treatise, purposely written 
to recommend the design when it was brought 
before the two Houses of Parliament in the be- 
ginning of the late reign, and licensed by the 
authority of a noble peer, who was at that time 
Secretary of State. In the very beginning of 
which is this remarkable passage. * No altera- 
tion, that I know of, is intended but in things 


declared to be alterable by the church itself. 
And, if things alterable be altered upon the 
grounds of prudence and charity, and things 
defective be supplied, and things abused be 
restored to their proper use, and things of a 
more ordinary composition revised and im- 
proved, whilst the doctrine, government, and 
worship of the church remain entire in all the 
substantial parts of them, we have all reason to 


believe that this will be so far from injuring the 
church, that, on the contrary, it will receive a 
great benefit from it." 

Such is the only account which we possess 
of the scheme of comprehension projected by 
Archbishop Sancroft. That it originated on his 
part from the purest and best of motives, and 
that his sole object was to give stability to the 
Church, and to extend the influence of sound 
religion, can admit of no question. Circum- 
stances prevented his bringing it to a conclu- 
sion ; but a similar attempt was made soon 
after the Revolution, which proved altogether 
abortive. Judging from the result of that later 
attempt, and from the similar results which 
have generally followed from plans of this de- 
scription, we may conjecture, with some pro- 
bability, that, although all would have been 
effected by Archbishop Sancroft, which could 
be effected by a spirit of conciliation, mixed 
with firmness and discretion, the scheme which 
he projected, had he been enabled to persevere 
in it, would not have been attended with any 
successful result. 

In the mean time, by the continued and less 
disguised attempts of King James against the 
liberties of his subjects, and the safety of the 
Protestant Church, matters were fast drawing 
to a crisis. The Protestants became every day 


more and more convinced that nothing less than 
open resistance could preserve to them the en- 
joyment of their religious profession ; and all 
eyes were turned towards Holland, as the quarter 
whence deliverance was to spring. The Prince 
of Orange, in consequence of the numerous and 
strong solicitations he had received from per* 
sons of various ranks and interests in England, 
had come to the resolution of undertaking an 
expedition for the express purpose of saving 
that kingdom from the dangers which threatened 
to overwhelm it. In consequence, he had em- 
ployed the earlier part of the year in making 
such preparations as had more the appearance 
of providing for the security of his own states, 
than of meditating any thing hostile against 
another. But, as the autumn drew on, he was 
obliged to take other measures in collecting 
troops, artillery and arms, which unequivocally 
marked the design of undertaking a foreign ex- 
pedition. While this storm was gathering, 
James aldne remained unconscious of his danger. 
Blinded by his passions, and given over to in- 
fatuated counsels, he vainly hoped for success 
to measures from which every other eye saw 
that his ruin must ensue ; and when prepara- 
tions were making, the object of which was to 
all the world too plain to be mistaken, he alone 


remained in ignorance of their real destination.* 
At last, about the middle of September, he first 
became convinced of the purpose of the in- 
tended expedition from Holland, by a letter, as 
it is said, from Lewis XlV.-f On receiving it, 
he turned pale and stood motionless, and the 
letter dropped from his hand ; striving to con- 
ceal his perturbation from his courtiers, he more 
plainly betrayed it ; and they, in affecting not 
to observe his emotion, showed no less plainly 
that they did. The immediate effect of the dis- 
covery, and of the alarqi which overwhelmed 
him, was to make him recur with hurried pre- 
cipitation to milder measures of government, 
for the purpose of regaining his lost popularity. 

* It is thought that his ignorance of what was in agitation 
was partly owing to the treachery of those who served him : for 
his minister^ .the Earl of Sunderland, having the command of 
the foreign correspondences, is suspected of having concealed 
from him whatever he pleased. — Dalrymple*s Memoirs, p. 141.' 
. t See Dalrymple's Memoirs, p. 141. It is remarkable that, 
during the whole of this summer and autumn, James had kept 
up a constant correspondence with the Prince of Orange, in 
which he evidently shows some distrust and jealousy of him, 
but still preserves tolerably well the outward appearances of 
affection. He concludes his last letter, dated September 1 7tb, 
as he had done most of the others, *' You shall find me as kind 
to you as you can expect :" and directs, " For my Son, the 
Prince of Orange." — Dalrymplc's Mem. Append, p. 294. 


Accordingly, on September 21st,* he published 
a Declaration, expressing that it was his reso- 
lution to preserve inviolable the Church of Eng- 
land ; that he was willing the Roman Catholics 
should remain excluded from the House of 
Commons ; and assuring his loving subjects, that 
he should be ready to do every thing else for 
their safety and advantage, that becomes a king 
who will always take care of his people. Five 
days afterwards, he declared his intention of 
restoring to the commission of the peace those 
gentlemen who had been displaced. But mat- 
ters had advanced too far for these concessions 


to have any effect. Although ostensibly pro- 
ceeding from his own free will, they were ma- 
nifestly extorted from him by fear. All confi- 
dence in him, on the part of the people, was 
forfeited; and his devotion to the Catholic 
cause was known to be such, that he would cer- 
tainly recur to his violent measures for esta- 
blishing it, as soon as the fear of consequences 
was again removed. 

But, what was the most striking effect of the 
alarm into which he was now thrown, he con- 
descended to ask advice of those very persons 
whom he had so lately treated with hasty and 
inconsiderate violence, the Archbishop of Can- 

* Sec Kcnnett^ iii. 489. 


tcrbury and the rest of the bishops. It is suffi- 
ciently manifest that, knowing the high grooiid 
of popularity on which they stood, principally 
on account of their firm resistance to his arbi- 
trary measures, he was desirous of renewing 
their attachment to his person, and of employ- 
ing their mediation for the purpose of regaining 
the affections of the people. 

On the 24th of September, the following let- 
ter was dispatched to the Archbishop of Can- 
terbury, from the Earl of Sunderland.* 

" My Lord, 

** The king thinking it requisite to 
speak with your Grace, and several others of 
the bishops, who are within a convenient dis- 
tance of this place, his Majesty commands me 
to acquaint you that he would have you attend 
him on Friday next, at ten o'clock in the morn- 

" I am, 

'' My Lord, 
** Your Grace's most faithful 

" and most humble servant, 

" Sunderland.'* 

Letters to the same purpose, and of about the 

* Tann. MSS. v. 28. No. 128, &c. 


same date, were sent to the Bishops of London, 
Winchester, Ely, Chichester, Bath and Wells, 
Peterborough, Bristol and Rochester ; and all 
of these, except the Bishops of London and 
Bristol, immediately came to town. The 
Archbishop of Canterbury was confined at Lam- 
beth by illness, on the day appointed for wait- 
ing on the king. The other bishops attended 
the summons. 

At this first interview, nothing passed* be- 
tween the king and the bishops, except general 
expressions of his favour to them on the one 
hand, and of their duty to him on the other. 
However, the king lost no time in informing the 
people that a conciliatory interview had taken 
place between himself and the bishops ; for he 
published a notice in the Gazette of September 
30th, that " several of my lords the bishops 
having attended his Majesty on Friday last, he 
was pleased, among other gracious expressions, 
to let them know, that he would signify his 
pleasure for taking off the suspension of the 
Lord Bishop of London, which is done accord- 

After this interview, the bishops who at- 
tended appear to have been by no means satis- 

* See Bishop Sprat's two letters the Earl of Dorset, 
t Kennett, iii. 489. 


fied with the result of it ; conceiving that they 
had not taken as much advantage as they might 
of so favourable an opportunity for addressing 
to the king that bold but necessary advice, in 
which his own best interests, as well as those 
of the church and of the country, were so deeply 
involved. In consequence, they entreated the 
Archbishop to procure for them a second and 
more particular audience, in which they might 
all deliver their plain and sincere sense of 
things, in that manner which the dangerou& 
condition of the church and state then required 
from persons of their character. Accordingly, 
oi\ the following Sunday (September 30th), the 
Archbishop waited on the king, and obtained 
his consent that the bishops should be admitted 
to full liberty of speech with him on the morn- 
ing of the following Tuesday (October 2.) 

The whole of Monday, the day preceding that 
appointed for the interview, was spent by the 
bishops in close conference with the Archbishop, 
respecting the advice which it might be proper 
for them to offer on the following day. Bishop 
Sprat remarks, that the heads of advice were 
agreed upon and drawn up at Lambeth Palace, 
on the very same day* as that on which the De-. 

* The 1st of October O. S., corresponding with the 10th of 
October N. S., the date of the Prince of Orange's Declaration. 
— See History of the Desertion^ p. 47. 


claration of the Prince of Orange is dated^ and 
that the matter of the two is very nearly the 
same, with the exception of one or two parti- 
culars which were too high for subjects to 
meddle with. 

It happened that the king was accidentally 
prevented from admitting the bishops to the 
intended interview on Tuesday, and their at- 
tendance was, in consequence, postponed till 
the following day. Bishop Sprat* laments the 
intervention of this delay, inasmuch as it de- 
prived themselves and the church of the credit 
which they would otherwise have had with the 
world, of having procured the rfestoration of the 
charter of the City of London. He states that 
the bishops, from the beginning of their con- 
sultations, had intended to make this one of 
their principal petitions; and he conjectures 
that the king, having received private informa- 
tion of their intention, thought it best to fore- 
stall their petition by making the restoration of 
the charter the act of his own free grace. It 
seems, however, hardly necessary to suppose 
that King James had received private informa- 
tion of their intentions ; for he must have felt 
that the seizure of this charter was one of the 
most offensive acts which he had committed ; 

* See Sprat's Letters to the Earl of Dorset. 
VOL. I. Z 


and in the disposition in which he now was, of 
treading back his imprudent and impolitic 
steps, it was natural that the recalling of this 
measure should be one of the first means that 
occurred to him of endeavouring to recover the 
good will of the people. However this may be, 
it is certain that, on the evening of the Tuesday 
on which the bishops were to have waited on 
him, he publicly declared in the council, to 
several citizens of London, his purpose of im- 
mediately restoring their charter. Thus, when 
the bishops waited on him the following day, 
they had nothing to do but to return thanks for 
the act which they had intended should form 
one of the subjects of their petition. 

On the morning of Wednesday, October 3d, 
all the bishops who remained in town, with the 
Archbishop of Canterbury at their head, waited 
on the king ; when the Archbishop, in the name 
of the rest, addressed him in the following 
terms.* He delivered their free and honest 
advice on this occasion, with a degree of be- 
coming meekness, gravity and courage, which 
were truly admirable.f Even Bishop Burnet 
allows, j: that the bishops delivered their advice 

* See Tann. MSS.— Ibid. 

t See Bishop Sprat's two letters. 

X Burnet* s Own Times, v. i. 784. 


** with great gravity, and with a courage that 
recommended them to the whole nation." 

" May it please youe sacred Majesty, 
" When I had lately the honour to 
wait upon you, you were pleased briefly to 
acquaint me with what had passed two days 
before, between your Majesty and these my 
reverend brethren : by which, and by the ac- 
count they themselves gave me, I perceived, 
that, in truth, there passed nothing, but in very 
general terms, and expressions of your Ma- 
jesty's gracious and favourable inclinations to 
the Church of England, and of our reciprocal 
duty and loyalty to your Majesty : both which 
were sufficiently understood and declared be- 
fore ; and (as one of my brethren then told you) 
would have been in the same state, if the 
bishops had not stirred one foot out of their 
dioceses. Sir, I found it grieved my lords the 
bishops to have come so far, and to have done 
so little : and I am assured, they came then 
prepared to have given your Majesty some 
more particular instances of their duty, and 
zeal for your service ; had they not apprehended 
from som# words which fell from your Majesty, 
that you were not then at leisure to receive 
them. It was for this reason, that I then be- 
sought your Majesty to command us once more 



to attend you all together; which your Majesty 
was pleased graciously to allow and encourage. 
We are therefore here now before you, with all 
humility, to beg your permission, that we may 
suggest to your Majesty such advices as we 
think proper at this season and conducing to 
your service, and so leave them to your princely 
consideration." Which the king being g^raci- 
ously pleased to permit, the Archbishop pro- 
ceeded as folio weth: ** Our humble advice is: 
— 1st. ** That your Majesty will be graciously 
pleased to put the management of your govern- 
ment in the several counties into the hands of 
such of the nobility and gentry there as are 
legally qualified for it. 

2d. " That your Majesty will be graciously 
pleased to annul your commission for ecclesi- 
astical affairs, and that no such court as that 
commission sets up may be erected for the fu- 

3d. " That your Majesty will be graciously 
pleased, that no dispensation may^ granted 
or continued, by virtue whereof any person, 
not duly qualified by law, hath been or may be 
put into any place, office, or preferment in 
church or state, or in the Universitiig, or ccm- 
tinued in the same ; especially such as have cure 
of souls annexed to them: and in particular> 


that you will be graciously pleased to restore 
the President and Fellows of St. Mary Magdalen 
College, in Oxford. 

4th. *' That your Majesty will be graciously 
pleased to set aside all licenses, or faculties 
already granted, by which any persons of the 
Romish communion may pretend to be enabled 
to teach public schools, and that no such be 
granted for the future. 

6th. " That your Majesty will be graciously 
pleased to desist from the exercise of such a 
dispensing power as hath of late been used ; 
and to permit that point to be freely and calmly 
debated and argued, and finally settled in par- 

6th. " That your Majesty will be graciously 
pleased to inhibit the four foreigjn bishops* who 
style themselves Vicars Apostolical, from further 
invading the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, which 
is by law vested in the bishops of this church. 

7th. " That your Majesty will be graciously 
please to, fill the vacant bishoprics, and other 
ecclesiastical promotions within your gift, both 
in England and Ireland, with men of learning 

* These |biir Popish bishops had been receDtly consecrated 
in the king's chapel^ and sent out to exercise episcopal functions 
in their respective dioceses ; they had dispersed their pastoral 
letters under the express permission of the king. 



and piety : and, in particular, (which I must 
own to be my peculiar boldness, for 'tis done 
without the privity of my brethren,) that you 
will be graciously pleased forthwith to fill the 
archiepiscopal chair of York* (which has so long 
stood empty, and upon which a whole province 
depends,) with some very worthy person : for 
which (pardon me. Sir, if I am bold to say) you 
have here now before you a very fair choice. 

8th. " That your Majesty will be .graciously 
pleased to supersede all further prosecution of 
Quo Warrantos against corporations, and to re-» 
store to them their ancient charters, privileges 
sgid franchises ; as we hear God hath put it 
into your Majesty's heart to do for the city of 
London; which we intended to have made 
otherwise one of our principal requests. 

9th. * * That, if it so please your Majesty, writs 
may be issued with convenient speed, for the 
calling of a free and regular parliament; in 
which the Church of England may be secured 
according to the Acts of Uniformity ;; provision 

* The archbishopric of York had been kept vacant since 
April, 1 686, when Archbishop Dolben died. It was generally 
Supposed that the king had the intention of appoiitfing a papist. 
Father Petre, to it. He afterwards appointed Dr. Lamplugfa, 
Bishop of Exeter, who fled to him from Exeter, on the landing 
of the Prince of Orange. 


may be made for a due liberty of conscience, 
and for securing the liberties and properties of 
all your subjects ; and a mutual confidence and 
good understanding may be established between 
your Majesty and all your people. 

10th. " Above all, that your Majesty will be 
graciously pleased to permit your bishops to 
offer you such motives and arguments as (we 
trust) may, by God's grace, be effectual to per- 
suade your Majesty to return to the commu- 
nion of the Church of England : into whose 
most Catholic Faith you were baptized, and in 
which you were educated, and to which it is 
our daily earnest prayer to God, that you may 
be reunited. 

" These, Sir, are the humble advices which, 
out of conscience of the duty we owe to God, 
to your Majesty, and to our country, we think 
fit at this time to offer to your Majesty, as 
suitable to the present state of your affairs, and 
most conducing to your service, and so to leave 
them to your princely consideration. And we 
heartily beseech Almighty God, * in whose 
hand the hearts of all kings are, so to dispose 
and govern your's, that in all your thoughts, 
words and works, you may ever seek his honour 
and glory, and study to preserve the people 
committed to your charge in wealth, peace and 



terbury and the rest of the bishops. It is suffi- 
ciently manifest that, knowing the high ground 
of popularity on which they stood, principally 
on account of their firm resistance to his arbi- 
trary measures, he was desirous of renewing 
their attachment to his person, and of employ- 
ing their mediation for the purpose of regaining 
the affections of the people. 

On the 24th of September, the following let- 
ter was dispatched to the Archbishop of Can- 
terbury, from the Earl of Sunderland.* 

" My Lord, 

" The king thinking it requisite to 
speak with your Grace, and several others of 
the bishops, who are within a convenient dis- 
tance of this place, his Majesty commands me 
to acquaint you that he would have you attend 
him on Friday next, at ten o'clock in the morn- 


" My Lord, 
" Your Grace's most faithful 

" and most humble servant, 

" Sunderland." 

Letters to the same purpose, and of about the 

* Tami. MSS. V. 28. No. 128, &c. 


same date, were sent to the Bishops of London, 
Winchester, Ely, Chichester, Bath and Wells, 
Peterborough, Bristol and Rochester ; and all 
of these, except the Bishops of London and 
Bristol, immediately came to town. The '■ 
Archbishop of Canterbury was confined at Lam- 
beth by illness, on the day appointed for wait- 
ing on the king. The other bishops attended 
the summons. 

At this first interview, nothing passed* be- 
tween the king and the bishops, except general 
expressions of his favour to them on the one 
hand, and of their duty to him on the other. 
However, the king lost no time in informing the 
people that a conciliatory interview had taken 
place between himself and the bishops ; for he 
published a notice in the Gazette of September 
30th, that " several of my lords the bishops 
having attended his Majesty on Friday last, he 
was pleased, among other gracious expressions, 
to let them know, that he would signify his 
pleasure for taking olF the suspension of the 
Lord Bishop of London, which is done accord- 

After this interview, the bishops who at- 
tended appear to have been by no means satis- 

* See Bishop Sprat's two letters the Earl of Dorset, 
t Kennett, iii. 489. 


completely lost, and the public prejudices 
against him were so inflamed, that every event 
was now construed to his disadvantage, and 
blame imputed to him by general opinion, even 
when it was not due.* 

* The most strikiDg instance of the want of confidence of 
the public in King James's promises at this period, was afibrded 
in the reports which were spread, and generally believed at the 
time, that he revoked his declared intention of restcHing the 
members of Magdalen College, at Oxford, as soon as his hopes 
of carrying his measures were revived by the intelligence of the 
dispersion of the Prince of Orange's fleet. But it has clearly 
appeared, from documents since published, that there was not 
the smallest foundation for these rumours, and that the delay 
which took place was entirely occasioned by the visitor, the 
Bishop of Winchester. It was on the 12th of October that this 
bishop received the king*s directions to settle the college regu- 
larly and statuteably. He left London on the 14th, but instead 
of going straight to Oxford, went to Famham in his way. The 
Archbishop of Canterbury and other bishops, feeling uneasy at 
this delay, urged him to proceed to Oxford immediately } in 
consequence, he arrived there on the 20th, with intention of 
executing his commission the next day, by restoring the mem- 
bers of the college, who were all in readiness, waiting for him. 
But on this very night he received, by an express which followed 
him from Famham, an official letter commanding his attend- 
ance at the Privy Council, at ten o'clock on the morning of the 
22d. This was nothing more than a general notice sent to all 
the Privy Counsellors to be present at the enrolment of the 
depositions respecting the birth of the Prince of Wales ; but, 
the purport not being mentioned in the notice, the bishop con- 
ceived it to be of such importance as to make it imperative on 
him to return immediately to London -, the Fellows wished him 


At one of the preceding interviews, the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury received the king's com- 
mands to compose some public prayers, suited 
to the state of danger in which the kingdom 
was then placed, to be used in all churches. 
He performed this office, which, in the existing 
state of things, was by no means an easy one, 
with great judgment and discretion, and even 
to the satisfaction of the king himself. The 

to restore them before he went, and on his refusal used rude 
expressions and behaviour : this made him angry, and he 
ordered his coachman to drive off. The king, as soon as he 
. saw him, asked him whether he had restored the Fellows ; and, 
on heaitng that he had not, commanded him, with expressions 
of some passion, to return immediately to Oxford and do so ; 
and, on the 25th the President and Fellows were restored. The 
letter, which accidentaUy recalled the Bishop of Winchester 
from Oxford, was written October 19th : the dispersion of the 
Prince of Orange's fleet did not take place till the 21st, on the 
evening of which day he put back to Helvoetsluys. Thus it 
could be only an extreme readiness to believe every thing ad- 
verse of James, that could cause the rumour of his retracting 
his concession in consequence of that event. — See MacphersonV 
History of Great Britain, v. i. p. 5 18, and Original State Papers> 
V. i. p. 271—5. 

Hume expresses himself with proper caution on this subject: 
he says, '^ it was commonly believed that the king recalled his 
concessions when the intelligence arrived of a disaster to the 
Dutch fleet.'* Bishop Burnet (v. i. p. 784.) boldly affirms that 
*' the order for restoring the President and Fellows of Magdalen 
College was countermanded when the news arrived of the 
Prince of Orange being put back by a storm.*' 


petitions were framed generally, without any 
particular allusion to the causes, or to the na- 
ture of the dangers which now threatened, for 
the preservation of internal peace and the heal- 
ing of divisions, for the maintenance of the laws 
and ancient government of the country^ and of 
the holy religion therein professed, for the 
safety of his Majesty's person, the wisdom of 
his counsels, and the filling his princely heart 
with a fatherly care of all his people. It was 
remarked* at the time, that these prayers con- 
siderably contributed to confinn the people in 
the principles of firm resistance to the attempts 
pf James against their religion and laws ) that 
the very act of praying for the preservation of 
their holy religion carried their minds to the 
consideration of the quarter firom which it was 
endangered, and made them reflect that they 
were not bound to concur and assist, either by 
their prayers or by their personal exertions, in 
any undertakings which interfered with their 
feelings of higher and more important duty. 
These interviews between the king and the 

* See History of the Desertion, p. 9. The prayers are found 
in Archhishop Sancroft's hand-writing in Tann. MSS. v. 28. 
No. 139. Even Bishop Buraet says (v. i. 784.), that " the 
prayers were so well drawn up that even those who wished for 
the prmce might have joined in them." 


bishops gave umbrage to some of the public. 
It was reported at the time, and was very pro- 
bably true, that they were brought about by 
the suggestion and contrivance of the king s 
Popish advisers, who saw the advantage they 
should derive from exciting the belief that the 
bishops, who were extolled as the great cham- 
pions of the party opposed to the court pro- 
ceedings, were now reconciled to the king, and 
had deserted the cause of the people. If such 
were the motives of those who advised the king, 
these persons must have been greatly disap- 
pointed by the firm conduct of the prelates, 
who, throughout the whole, as will be further 
seen, steadily refused to comply wdth the ur- 
gent solicitations of the king to lend their names 
in any shape to the support of his cause ; and 
adhered to the plan of giving him that honest 
and wholesome advice which the emergency 

The following letter from the celebrated Mr. 
Evelyn to the Archbishop, while it attests the 
deep interest which that distinguished person 
took in the support of the Protestant cause, 
shows, at the same time, what suspicions were 
awake respecting the contrivances of the Popish 
counsellors in procuring a reconciliation be- 
tween the king and his bishops.* 

* See Tann. MSS. v. 28. No. 137. 

350 life of archbishop sakcroft. 

" My Lord, 

'^ The honour and reputation which 
your Grace's piety, prudence and signal courage 
have justly merited, and obtained, not only 
from the sons of the Church of England, but 
even universally from those Protestants among 
us who are dissenters from her, God Almighty's 
providence and blessing upon your Grace s vi- 
gilance and extraordinary endeavours will not 
suffer to be diminished in this conjuncture. 
The conversations I now and then have with 
some in place, who have opportunity of know- 
ing what is doing in the most secret recesses of 
our church's adversaries, oblige me to acquaint 
your Lordship, that the calling of your Grace 
and the rest of the lord bishops to court, and 
what has there been lately required of you, is 
only to create, if possible, some jealousies and 
suspicions among the well-meaning people, of 
such compliances as, it is certain, they have no 
cause to apprehend. The whole plan of this 
(and of all that is to follow of seeming &vour 
thence) is drawn by the Jesuits, who are at tiiin 
time more busy than ever, to make divisions 
amongst us, all their other mechanisms and arts 
having fietiled them. They have contrived that 
your lordships the bishops should be summoned 
to give his Majesty advice separately, without 
any of the rest of the peers, &c. which, though 


most maliciously suggested, is generally spread 
about the town. I do not at all question, but, 
as your Grace cannot but hear of this, so you 
will speedily prevent the operation of the 
venom, and that you will think it very neces- 
sary so to do. That your Grace is also en- 
joined to compose a form of prayer, wherein a 
great prince is expressly to be named the in- 
vader ; of the truth of this, I presume to say 
nothing : but, whatever it be, forasmuch as in 
all the declarations which hitherto have been 
published in pretended favour of the Church of 
England, there is not once any mention of the 
Reformed, or Protestant religion, but only of 
the Church of England as by law established 
(which Church, the Papists tell us, is the Church 
of Rome, that is, say they, the Catholic Church 
of England, which only is established by law, 
the Church of England in the reformed sense, 
so established, but by an usurped authority) : 
the ambiguity of that would be explained, ut- 
terly defeat this false construction, and take off 
all exceptions whatsoever, if, in all extraordi- 
nary offices upon these occasions, (and especi- 
ally at this jimcture,) the words Reformed and 
Protestant were added to that of the Church of 
England ; and whoever threatens to invade, or 
come with intentions for the prejudice of that 


Church, m God's name, (be they Dutx^h or 
Irish,) let us heartily pray against them. 

" My Lord, this is, I confess, a bold, but 
honest paper ; and, though I am well assured 
of your Grace's being perfectly acquainted with 
all this before, and therefore may blame my 
impertinence as an Axxorpio-cTioicoToc; yet I am 
confident you will not reprove the zeal of oije 
who most humbly implores your Grace's pardon 
with your blessing. 

" Your Grace's most humble 
'^ and most dutiful Servant, 

" J. E. 

" October 10th, —88. 

" My servant, who delivers this to your 
Grace, is a faithful and trusty young man : I 
should, however, be glad to receive one line, if 
your Grace does pardon this presumption, an 
indispensable occasion detaining me from wait- 
ing on your Grace at this instant." 




Inteniews of the Archbishop and Bishops with King James re- 
specting their Invitation of the Prince of Orange, and signing 
a Paper declaring their abhorrence of his Designs — Their steady 
Refusal — Consequences of this Refusal — The Archbishop not 
chargeable with inconsistency herein. 

When the designs of the Prince of Orange be- 
came still more certain, the king again desired 
an interview with the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury. A note* reached him at an early hour 
on the morning of Tuesday, October 16th, ac- 
quainting him that, if his health permitted, his 
Majesty desired to speak to him that very 

The Archbishop waited on the king at the 
time appointed. His Majesty began the con- 

* See Tanner's MSS. v. 28. No. 146. 154, 155, &c. ITie 
remarkable narrative which follows is given from Archbishop 
SancToft's papers. The account of what took place in the 
king's closet on the 6th of November, is drawn up by Bishop 
Sprat, who was probably desired by the Archbishop to commit 
to writing all that he recollected of the conversation. The'rest 
is manifestly committed to paper by the Archbishop himself. 

VOL. I. A A 


versation by referring to the restoration of Mag- 
dalen College, saying that the Bishop of Win- 
chester mistook his meaning, and that he never 
meant to delay the visitation. He then ad- 
verted to the restoring of the corporations, 
which, he said, should have been done the day 
before, had not the lawyers differed about the 
terms of the proclamation. The Archbishop 
told him that he had lately received a letter 
without a name, complaining of the bad state 
of the church in Ireland ; particularly of four 
bishoprics having been long vacant there, the 
filling of which had formed the seventh head of 
advice offered to his Majesty by the bishops. 
Some other grievances were mentioned ; but, 
as the Archbishop had not the letter with him, 
the king desired that he would send him a more 
particular account. 

At last the king came to that which appeared 
to be his chief purpose in sending for the Arch- 
bishop. He told him that he had now received 
certain intelligence, that the Prince of Orange 
was coming to invade England, and to make a 
conquest of it ; and that it would be very much 
for his service, and a thing very well becoming 
the bishops, if they would meet together and 
draw up a paper, expressing their abhorrence of 
this attempt of the Prince. The Archbishop 
told him that, soon after the bishops had waited 


on him the last time, they supposed his Majesty 
had no further commands for them, and accord- 
ingly made haste to return to their respective 
dioceses, so that there were now none of them 
in town. The king replied that he understood 
some of them were either still in town, or were 
60 near that they could be sent for : and, on his 
still insisting on his former proposal, the Arch- 
bishop, having first requested leave to speak his 
sentiments freely, said that he conceived there 
could be no occasion for such a declaration from 
the bishops, for he could not believe that the 
Prince had such a design ; for which opinion, at 
the desire of the king, he gave several reasons. 
Nothing more passed at this interview ; and 
it does not appear that the king had further 
communication with any of the prelates, or 
urged any more the affair of a public declara- 
tion from them, till Wednesday, October 31st. 
On that day, he ordered a letter to be sent to 
the Bishop of London, requiring him to attend 
him immediately. The bishop, being absent 
from home when the message arrived, was 
unable to obey the summons till the next morn- 
ing. The king immediately told him, that 
when he had sent for him he possessed only the 
Declaration of the States of Holland, but that 
now the Declaration of the Prince of Orange 
had fallen into his hands. He then read to the 

A A 2 



bishop a short paragraph stating that several of 
the lords spiritual and temporal had invited 
him over to England. Upon which the bishop 
said, " I am confident the rest of the bishops 
would as readily answer in the negative as my- 
self:" and the king was pleased to say, that he 
believed them all innocent. He next told the 
bishop that he thought it requisite they should 
make some public declaration of their innocence 
in this matter, and also of their abhorrence of 
the Prince's design. The bishop told him that 
this was a matter to be considered. The kino- 
replied that every one must answer for himself, 
but he would send for the Archbishop of Can- 
terbury, who should call them together. 

Accordingly, on the same day, the Arch- 
bishop received a summons to wait upon the 
king the next day, (November 2d,) and bring 
with him such others of the bishops as were in 

On his arrival at Whitehall, he found already 
in attendance the Bishops of London, Durham, 
Chester and St. David's. When they were ad- 
mitted into the closet, the king told them that 
he had seized a person who had brought into 
the city a great number of the Prince of Orange's 
Declarations, and had begun to disperse them; 
that he had a copy at hand, in which, says he 
to the bishops, is a passage that concerns you. 


Having desired the secretary to read the pas- 
sage, he said that he did not believe a word of 
it, that he was fully satisfied of the innocence 
of the bishops, and the falsehood of the accusa- 
tion ; notwithstanding, he thought it fit to ac- 
quaint them with it, and this was the occasion 
of his sending for them at this time. 

The Archbishop, having thanked his Majesty 
for his good opinion so frankly and graciously 
expressed, spoke to the following purpose: 
That he owed to his Majesty a natural alle- 
giance, having been bom in his kingdom ; that 
he had oftentimes confirmed this by taking vo- 
luntarily the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, 
and that he could have at once but one king ; 
that, as his Majesty well knew, he never wor- 
shipped the rising sun, nor made court to any 
but his king ; and to him he did, as often as he 
was pleased to receive it. Further, as to this 
particular charge, and his personal concern in 
it, he averred it to be utterly false ; that so far 
had he been from inviting in any manner the 
said Prince to make this attempt, that he had 
never made any application to him ; and, fur- 
ther, that he did not know, and could not be- 
lieve, that any of his brethren the bishops had 
given the prince any such invitation. The 
Bishop of London said, he had given the king 
bis answer the day before : the Bishop of D.ur- 

A A 3 


ham said, I am sure I am none of them : nor I, 
nor I, said the other two. 

The preceding address of the Archbishop to 
the king is very remarkable, when connected 
with his subsequent conduct in refusing to take 
the oaths to King William. It shows that he 
had at this time the same strong feeling of the 
impossibility of transferring his allegiance from 
King James to another which he afterwards en- 
tertained; and, as he spontaneously touches 
upon this topic, which was quite distinct from 
the subject on which the king was speaking to 
him, it may be surmised that he already fore- 
saw, in some of those who had invited the 
Prince of Orange, a design of transferring to 
him the possession of the throne. 

After these declarations from the Archbishop 
and bishops, the king repeated more than once 
his former declaration, that he verily believed 
the whole charge to be a groundless aspersion 
upon the bishops; nevertheless, he required 
that some such denial should be published, 
saying it would be for his service : still he 
would not allow time to send for the absent 
bishops, but commanded the Archbishop to call 
together as many of them as he could, and to 
consider with them, what was fit to be done in 
order to vindicate themselves from this accusa- 
tion. He then went on to say, that, when they 


met> they should resolve upon a paper, or 
apology for themselves in writing, which, when 
prepared, the Archbishop should bring to him, 
(or rather send it, he said to the Archbishop, 
for I would not endanger your health; for 
which his royal compassion the Archbishop 
gave him thanks.) And then, he proceeded to 
say, the paper, being approved by me, may, by 
you, the metropolitan, be sent to the absent 
bishops foy their concurrence. 

^ \ this time, not a word had passed 

xpressing their abhorrence of the 
ange's design. At last, the king 
. ^a may do well, and it will be very 
much for my service, if in your paper you ex- 
press your dislike of the Prince's design ;" to 
which, though he said it twice, neither the 
Archbishop nor any of the bishops who were 
present gave the slightest answer. 

The next day, Saturday, November 3d, the 
Bishops of London and Rochester waited on 
the Archbishop by appointment, to confer on 
this matter : and, understanding that the bishop 
of Peterborough was not far from town, they 
agreed that he should be sent for, and that they 
should all meet again on the Monday following, 
for further consultation. During this time, the 
king was very impatient for the result. On the 
Sunday, he sent Lord Preston to the Archbi- 

A A 4 


shop to require him to expedite, as much as 
possible, the return to the proposal. The 
Archbishop explained to him that he had taken 
the proper steps for complying with his Ma- 
jesty's commands with as little delay as possi- 

On Monday, November 5th, the bishops all 
met at Lambeth Palace, according to appoint- 
ment ; and, after due deliberation and debate, 
unanimously agreed upon the line they should 
take, and the answers to which they should 
hold, when admitted to an audience with the 
king. The Archbishop immediately sent word 
that they were prepared to wait upon his Ma- 
jesty ; and the next morning, between ten and 
eleven o'clock, was fixed for the purpose. 

Accordingly, on Tuesday, November 6th, the 
Archbishop of Canterbury, with the Bishops of 
London, Rochester and Peterborough, came 
together to Whitehall. On arriving there, they 
found the bishop of St. David's (Watson*), 

* This bishop was known as a person devoted to the mea- 
sures of the court. A remarkable anecdote is related respecting 
him at the time of the Revolution. Among the partial dis- 
turbances which took place, the mob at Cambridge^ hearing 
that he was at Balsham in that county on a visits went to 
find him 3 and, mounting him on a paltry horse, without bridle 
or saddle, brought him in triumph to Cambridge, and were not 
satisfied till they had made the magistrates put him in the Castle 
as a prisoner. — See London Mercury, Dec. 23d, 1688. 


waiting to go in with them to the king ; but, 
not. wishing to make him a party to what 
passed between the king and themselves, they 
requested that their audience might be private, 
and procured his exclusion. 

On their admission into the closet, the Arch- 
bishop began to this eflFect : — 

" Sir, we think we have done all that can be 
expected from us in this business. Since your 
Majesty has declared you are well satisfied in 
our innocency, we regard not the censures of 

Here the Bishops oft Peterborough and Ro- 
chester, having been absent from the former 
meeting, made their personal protestations, (as 
the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop 
of London had done before,) that they had, 
neither by word or writing, directly or indi- 
rectly, invited the Prince of Orange to invade 
his Majesty's dominions, nor did they know of 
any that had. 

The Kiyig. — My .Lords, I am abundantly sa- 
tisfied with you all, as to that matter. I had 
not the least suspicion of you. But where is 
the paper I desired you to draw up and bring 

The Bishops. — Sir, we have brought no paper. 
Nor (with submission) do we think it necessary 
or proper for us to do it. Since your Majesty 


is pleased to say that you think us guiltless, we 
despise what all the world besides shall say. 
Let others distrust us as they will, we regard it 
not : we rely on the testimony of our con- 
sciences, and your Majesty's favourable opinion. 

The King. — But I expected a paper fronoi you. 
I take it, you promised me one. I look upon 
it to be absolutely necessary for my service : 
and seeing you are mentioned in the Prince of 
Orange's Declaration, you should satisfy others 
as well as me. 

Here the king, taking notice that the Bishops 
of Peterborough and Rochester had been absent 
the time before, took out the Declaration, and 
read to them what concerned the birth of the 
Prince of Wales, and the Prince of Orange's 
resolution to come to England for the preserva- 
tion of its religion and laws, being invited by a 
great many of the spiritual and temporal lords. 

The Bishops. — Sir, we cannot think ourselves 
bound to declare publicly, under our hands, 
against a paper come forth in such a private 
manner, which, as yet, nobody owns; and 
which, as they say, seems rather to be written 
like a lawyer's brief, than a princely declara- 
tion. We assure your Majesty, scarce one in 
five hundred believes it to be the Prince's true 

" No!" said the king, with some vehemence. 


" then that five hundred would cut my throat," 
(or bring in the Prince of Orange upon my 

The Bishops. — God forbid ! 

The King. — " What, must not I be believed ? 
must my credit be called in question ?" As he 
turned the Declaration over in his hands, one 
of the bishops asked, whether the Prince of 
Orange's arms were to it ? He said, there were 
all the signs of a true Declaration. 

The Bishops. — Sir, your Majesty's credit is 
not here concerned. It is sufficient for that, 
that your officers seized on it. 

The Archbishop. — Sir, it is a good reason to 
us to suspect it is not his, that this very clause 
is in it, of his being invited by a great many 
spiritual and temporal lords. For either this is 
true or false. If true, one would think it were 
very unwisely done of the Prince of Orange, to 
discover it so soon. If it be false, one would 
not imagine a great prince would publish a ma- 
nifest untruth, and make it the grounds of his 

The King. — ^What! he that can do as he does, 
think you he will stick at a lie ? You all know 
how usual it is for men in such cases, to affirm 
any kind of falsehoods, for the advantage of 
their cause. 

The Bishops. — However, Sir, this is a business 


of state^ which properly belongs not to us. To 
declare peace and war is not our duty ; but in 
your Majesty's power only. God has intrusted 
the sword with you. 

The Archbishop. — ^Truly, Sir, we have lately 
some of us here, and others my brethren who 
are absent, so severely smarted for meddling 
with matters of state and government, that it 
4nay well make us exceeding cautious how we 
do so any more. For, though we presented 
your Majesty with a petition of the most inno- 
cent nature, and in the most humble manner 
imaginable, yet we were so violently prose- 
cuted, as it would have ended in our ruin if 
God's goodness had not preserved us : and I 
assure your Majesty, the whole accusation 
turned upon this one point. — Your Attorney 
and Solicitor both affirmed, that the honestest 
paper relating to matters of civil government 
might be a seditious libel, when presented by 
persons who had nothing to do with such mat- 
ters, as they said we had not, but in time of 
parliament. And indeed. Sir, they pursued us 
so fiercely upon this occasion, that, for my part, 
I gave myself for lost. 

The King. — I thank you for that, my Lord of 
Canterbury: I could not have thought you 
would believe yourselves lost by falling into 
my hands. 


The Bishops. — Sir, my Lord of Canterbury's 
meaning is, he looked on himself as lost in the 
course of law ; lost in Westminster Hall. 

The Archbishop. — But, Sir, the injustice of the 
prosecution against us did not cease there. After 
we had been acquitted by our jury, and our ac- 
quitment was recorded ; and so we were right in 
the eye of the law : yet after that, we were afresh 
arraigned, and condemned by divers of your 
judges, as seditious libellers, in their circuits all 
over England. And, Sir, I beg leave to say, 
that if the law were open, (that is, as he after- 
wards explained himself, if the same persons 
were not to be judges and parties,) had the 
meanest subject your Majesty has, been used as 
we have been, he would have found abundant 
reparation in your courts of justice for so great 
a scandal. I will particularly acquaint your 
Majesty with what one of your judges. Baron 
H. said, coming from the bench, where he 
had declared our petition to be a factious libel. 
A gentleman of quality asking him, how he 
could have the conscience to say so, when the 
bishops had been legally discharged of it? he 
answered, you need not trouble yourself with 
what I said on the bench : I have instructions 
for what I said, and I had lost my place, if I 
had not said it. Sir, added the Archbishop, 
I hope this is not true. But it is true that he 


said it. There was another of your judges, 
Sir, Baron R. who attacked us in another 
manner, and endeavoured to expose us as ridi* 
culous; alleging, that we did not write true 
English, and it was fit we should be convicted 
by Dr. Busby for false grammar. 

The Bishops. — Sir, that was not all. The 
same judge, as we are certainly informed, pre- 
sumed to revile the whole church of England 
in the most scandalous language, affirming, that 
this church, which your Majesty has so often 
honoured by promising to cherish and protect 
it, is a cruel and bloody church. 

The king, now addressing the Archbishop, 
said, my Lord, this is querelle d'Allemand : all 
this is a matter quite out of the way. I thought 
this had been all forgotten. For my part, I am 
no lawyer: I am obliged to think what my 
judges do is according to law. But, if you will 
still complain on that account, I think I have 
reason to complain too. I am sure your counsel 
did not use me civilly. I know what is com- 
monly said, that it is customary for the counsel 
to speak what they can for their clients. ' But 
they went further, and interposed in matters 
they had nothing to do with. As for what you 
say, that it is hazardous to meddle in matters 
of state, that is true, when I do not call you to 
it. But I may ask counsel or assistance of any. 


as I now do of you; and then there can be no 

Here, the king still earnestly urging that they 
should present him with something under their 
hands, which he had before sometimes called a 
dislike, sometimes an abhorrence, sometimes a 
detestation of the Prince of Orange's proceed- 
ings ; and insisting much on a promise of this 
nature made by the Archbishop of Canterbury 
and the Bishop of London, when the other two 
were absent; they with all duty and submis- 
sion persisted, that they never promised a 
paper, but only engaged that they would de- 
liberate with those of their brethren then near 
town, in whom they could confide, about 
framing a paper ; and that, if they should agree 
upon one, they would bring or send it to his 
Majesty. On this, the king turned to Lord 
Preston, for whom he had sent some time 
before, and asked him, whether the Archbishop 
of Canterbury and the Bishop of London had 
not promised a paper, although they now de- 
nied it. Lord Preston answered, in substance, 
that the two prelates had promised that, if they 
should consent or agree upon a paper, they 
would present it to his Majesty before it was 
published. To which these prelates added, 
" We then said, we were very few of the 


bishops' bench in town, with whom we could 
advise, and begged that in so weighty a busi- 
ness, his Majesty would be pleased to summon 
up the rest." 

The king answered, that he had told the 
Archbishop of Canterbury before, that it would 
be too far, and too late, to send to Carlisle, or 
Exeter, or other remote parts ; but, if they who 
were present would sign the paper, he would 
afterwards send to those who were further off 
for their concurrence. 

The bishops hereupon most humbly intreated, 
that the small number there present might not 
be separated from the rest, as if they were 
more suspected than others : they further said, 
that the lords temporal were equally concerned 
in the accusation, and prayed that they might 
be called together, and joined with them in 
consulting about this protestation which was 
now required of them alone. 

The king hastily answered, " Aye, I believe, 
some of the temporal Lords have been already 
with you, and caused you to change your 

The bishops all solemnly declared the con- 
trary ; and the king put this off by saying that 
he knew some, as Lord Preston, had been with 

The bishops then stated, that they understood 


several of the temporal lords had had inter- 
views with his Majesty upon this very occa- 
sion ; and they humbly asked, whether he had 
demanded any such thing of them, as he was 
now pleased to do from the bishops. 

His Majesty said. No, he had not. But it 
would be of more concernment to his service 
that they (the bishops) should do it, because 
they had greater interest with the people. 

The bishops replied, that, in matters of this 
nature, belonging to civil government and the 
affairs of war and peace, it was most probable 
the nobility would have far greater influence on 
the nation than themselves ; as they had greater 
interests at stake, and the management of such 
matters belonged more properly to them. 

The King. — But this is the method I have 
proposed. I am your king. I am judge what 
is best for me. I will go my own way; I de- 
sire your assistance in it. 

The Bishops. — Sir, we have already made our 
personal vindication here in your Majesty's pre- 
sence : your Majesty has condescended to say, 
you believe and are satisfied with it. Now, 
Sir, it is in your power to publish what we have 
here said, to all the world, in your royal Decla- 
ration, which we hear is coming forth. 

The King. — No ; if I should publish it, the 
people would not believe me. 

VOL. I. B B 


The- Bishops. — Sir, the word of a king is sa- 
cred ; it ought to be believed on its own autho- 
rity. It would be presumption in us to pretend 
to strengthen it: and the people cannot but 
believe your Majesty in this matter. 

The King. — ^They that could believe me guilty 
of a false son, what will they not believe of me? 

The Bishops. — But, Sir, all the court sees us 
going in and out : and all the town will know 
the effect of what has been done and said : and 
we shall own it everywhere. 

The King. — ^And all the town will know what 
I have desired of you : so that it will be a great 
prejudice to my affairs, if you deny me. 

The bishops still earnestly besought his Ma- 
jesty, that they might not be divided from the 
temporal peers ; that he would at least appoint 
a select number of them to consult together 
with them. The king still refusing to hear of 
that, and urging their immediate compliance, 
they told him, that the chief place in which 
they could serve his Majesty effectually was a 
parliament: and, when he should please to 
call one to compose all the distractions of his 
kingdoms, he should there find, that, as they 
had always shown their personal affections to 
his Majesty, so the true interest of the church 
of England is inseparable from the true inte- 
rest of the crown. 


The King. — My lords, that is a business of 
more time. What I ask now, I think of pre- 
sent concernment to my affairs. But this is 
the last time ; I will urge you no further. If 
you will not assist me as I desire, I must stand 
upon my own legs, and trust to myself and my 
own arms* 

The Bishops, in conclusion, stated that, as 
bishops, they did assist his Majesty with their 
prayers; as peers, they entreated that they 
might serve him in conjunction with the rest 
of the peers, either by his Majesty's speedily 
calling a parliament, or, if that should be 
thought too distant, by assembling together 
with them as many of the temporal peers, as 
were in London or its vicinity. 

This suggestion was not attended to, and so 
the prelates were dismissed. 

Thus ended this celebrated conference be- 
tween King James and the bishops: great 
crowds of people were present at and about 
the court, waiting to hear the result; both the 
friends and the enemies of the Church of Eng- 
land being impatient to learn how they would 
conduct themselves in that difficult juncture. 
Bi«hop Sprat says,* that the jesuited party at 
court were so enraged against the bishops for 

* See Sprat^s Letters to the Earl of Dorset. 

B b2 


their perseverance in refusing to give the king 
a paper such as he required, that, as was stated 
on credible authority, one of the principal of 
them in a heat advised that they should all be 
imprisoned, and the truth extorted from them 
by force. 

There cannot be the slightest doubt that 
Archbishop Sancroft was perfectly sincere in 
the protestations he made to ^the king at the 
preceding interviews, of his not having been 
concerned in inviting the Prince of Orange to 
England.* There is every reason to suppose 

* The following letter from Dr. Stanley, who was fonneiiy 
chaplain to the Princess of Orange, to Dr. Hickes, written in 
1715, strongly corroborates the fact, if it can be thought to stand 
in need of corroboration, that Archbishop Sancroflt never con- 
curred in any inyitation to the Prince of Orange. — See Gutdi's 
Miscellan. Curiosa^ Pref. p. 64. 

" May 26th. 
" Sib, 

'* I do not remember that I ever heard that the late 

good Archbishop Sancroft was thought to have invited the 

Prince of Orange over into England. If any one did charge 

him with it, I believe it was without grounds. All that I can 

say as to the matter is, that, Ann. 1687, when I came into 

England from Holland, I confess I did desire the Archbishop 

to write to the then Princess of Orange, on whom I had the 

honour to attend, to encourage her still to give countenance to 

the church of England : but he was pleased not to write to 

her. And, afterwards, when we were come over into England, 

and a report being spread abroad^ that some of the lords^ spi- 


that, whatever may have been his opinion of 
the absolute necessity of the Prince's interven- 
tion, in order to detach James from the evil 
counsellors by whom he was surrounded, and 
to place on a firm footing the civil and religious 
liberties of the country, yet he had not in 
any manner, direct or indirect, concurred in 
such invitation; nor even is there any ground 
for supposing that he suspected any of his 
brethren on the bench to have had more con- 
cern in such a measure than himself. Of the 
other prelates who were present at the inter- 
views, the Bishops of Rochester and Peterbo- 
rough appear also to have been perfectly sin- 
cere. With the Bishop of London, however, 
the case was different. It has appeared from 
documents which have since been published,* 

ritual as well as temporal, had invited the Prince of Orange 
into England, in my discoursing with the Archhishop, I re^ 
member he said to me — I am now glad I did not write to the 
princess as you desired 5 for, if I had written to her, they would 
have said that I had sent to invite them over. — This is true, and 
this is all that I can say of that affair. 

I am. Sir, 
" Your faithful Friend, &c. 

" William Stanley.*' 


* See Dalrymple*s Memoirs, Append, vol. ii. pp. 224, 228. 
and Macpherson's State Papers, v. i. p. 276. It is there clearly 
proved, from original documents, that the Bishop of li09doa 

B B 3 


that, at this very time, he had joined with se- 
veral others in sending to the Prince of Orange 
a direct invitation, in which a positive pledge 
was given, that they would render him, as soon 
as he should land, all the assistance in their 
power. This bishop, therefore, can by no 
means be absolved from the charge of dupli- 
city, in having so strongly and positively de- 
nied the fact to the king. 

It is sufficiently clear that the great object of 
King James, in the preceding interviews with 
the bishops, was to draw them into a public 
expression of their opinion, adverse to the 
Prince of Orange's designs; and thereby to 
avail himself of their influence and credit with 
the nation, at that critical period, in opposing 
the projected attempt. It has appeared, that 
in what he required of them, he mixed two 

was one of those who associated to invite the Prince of Orange. 
In particular^ there is one paper, signed, in cypher, by him and 
six others, dated June 30th, 1688, in which they press the prince 
without delay to undertake the expedition, and add, '' we who 
subscribe this will not fail to attend your Highness on your 
landing, and to do all that lies in our power to prepare others.** 
While we cannot but admire the high and honourable feeling 
which distinguished many parts of Bishop Compton's conduct, 
antecedent to, and during, the Revolution, we cannot help re- 
gretting, that his merits should be tarnished by an act of in- 
sincerity towards the king, lis unprofitable as it was inex- 


matters which were quite distinct from each 
other ; the denial of their having had any con- 
cern in inviting the Prince, and their abhor- 
rence in general of Ihe invasion projected by 

* There is reason to believe tbat^ had the king found the 
bishops disposed to yield to his solicitations^ he would have 
pressed them, not only to express their own dislike of the Prince 
of Orange's expedition, but also to recommend to the clergy to 
be earnest in exhorting their flocks against it. — The following 
IS a form of declaration, given in one of the pamphlets of that 
period, which, it is stated, the king wished to procure some of 
the bishops to sign, immediately after the landing of the Prince. 
It is found in a scarce pamphlet, entitled " Reflexions on a F\orm 
of Prayer lately set forth by the Jacobites of the Church of 
England, and of an Abhorrence tendered by the late king to 
some of our dissenting Bishops upon his present Majesty* sr laud- 
ing, London, 1 690/* — See p. 26. 

" Whereas the Prince of Orange hath, with an armed force of 
foreigners and strangers, in a hostile manner, actually invaded 
this kingdom ', and, to amuse and deceive the subjects, has set 
forth his declaration; and therein hath asserted that he hath been 
earnestly sohcited and invited by a great many of the lords 
spiritual of this kingdom : We, the Archbishop and Bishops, 
whose names are hereunto subscribed, as an indispensable duty 
incumbent upon us, do for ourselves severally and respectively 
declare, that we never did, either by word or writing, give him 
the least, or any encouragement or solicitation thereto : and do, 
on behalf of ourselves, according to the avowed and untainted 
principles of the Church of England, with the consent of the 
King's most excellent Majesty, hereby publish and declare to all 
our fellow subjects, our abhorrence and detestation of the said 
invasion, or of any rebellion or other disturbance of the go- 

B B 4 


As far as the Archbishop of Canterbury was 
concerned, there seems reason to suppose that 
he would not have been unwilling to give the 
king a written declaration of that which he had 
with full sincerity declared to him in private, 
that he had not himself invited the prince, and 
did not know or believe that any of his brethren 
had done so. There is, in fact, found among 
his papers, the following sketch of a declaration 
to this effect, regularly dated, with his initials 
subjoined ; evidently drawn up with the design 
of being presented to the king.* 

" Whereas there hath been of late a general 

Temment, under what pretence and upon what ground soever : 
and do hereby direct and admonish all our dergy^ within our 
several and respective dioceses (and doubt not but our several 
brethren the bishops who are not present at the signing hereof^ 
but they respectively will speedily do the like for themselves, 
and within their several and respective dioceses^) to excite 
and stir up their several auditors, and all persons within their 
respective cures, to stand firm and stedfast in their duty and 
obedience to the king*s majesty, in the opposition thereof, as 
being a duty incumbent upon them by the laws of God and 
man, and from which they may expect the blessing of God in 
such their undertaking. To which and for which they shall 
not want our fervent prayers to God on their behalfs. 
Given under our hands this day of 

Ann. Dom. 1688. 

* §ec Macpher8on*s Original State Papers, v. i. 279, from 
Tanners Collection, v. 28. 


apprehension, that his highness the Prince of 
Orange hath an intention to invade this king- 
dom, in hostile manner; and, as it is said, 
makes this one reason of his attempt, that he 
hath been thereunto invited by several English 
lords, both spiritual and temporal ; I, William, 
Archbishop of Canterbury, do, for my own dis- 
charge, profess and declare, that I never gave 
him any such invitation, by word, writing, or 
otherwise. Nor do I know, nor can believe, 
that any of my reverend brethren the bishops 
have, in any such way, invited him. And all 
this I aver upon my word ; and, in attestation 
thereof, have subscribed my name here, at 
Lambeth, the 3d day of November, 1688. 

** W. C." 

This paper, it is observable, bears date three 
days before the final interview of the bishops 
with the king. It certainly never was pre- 
sented. The Archbishop was probably diverted, 
on further reflection, from doing what he at first 
intended, by considering that a simple declara- 
tion of this kind would probably not satisfy the 
king ; and also, what was urged by him in the 
interview, that the temporal lords being as 
much concerned as the spiritual, there was as 
much reason for his calling upon them to make 
the declaration, as the spiritual ; and the fact 


of his endeavouring to detach the latter from 
the former, and make them stand alone in a 
declaration of this kind to be laid before the 
public, naturally suggested the suspicion that 
some peculiar advantage v^ras intended in the 
use of their names, and made them, in conse- 
quence, the more cautious in affording them. 

Of the prelates vvrho bore a part in this con- 
ference, two, the Archbishop of Canterbury, 
and Kenn, Bishop of Bath and Wells, after- 
wards refused to take the oaths to King Wil- 
liam ; and their conduct has, in consequence, 
been taxed with inconsistency. It has been 
asked why, if they were in reality averse to the 
Prince of Orange's designs, they refused to sig- 
nify that aversion by a public declaration, at 
the earnest desire of their lawful sovereign; 
and why, if they approved the expedition, they 
afterwards refused to concur in those measures 
which resulted from it. The fact seems to be, 
that, although these prelates had not been in 
any degree concerned in inviting the Prince of 
Orange to undertake the expedition, and al- 
though they were not prepared to approve 
every result to which the expedition might 
lead, still they concurred with the rest of their 
brethren, and with reflecting persons through- 
out all ranks of the nation, in the firm opinion 
that his presence was absolutely necessary to 


rescue the king from the evil counsellors that 
surrounded him, to turn him from his design of 
subverting the church and violating the consti- 
tution, and to force him to the adoption of 
measures more consistent with the feelings atid 
wishes of his people. Their very attachmeiit 
to James as their sovereign, no less than theit 
regard for the welfare of the nation in Church 
and State, led them, under the existing circum- 
stances, not to disapprove an expedition which 
appeared to be the only effectual measure for 
producing those results which they so ardently 
desired. Thus, whatever may be thought of 
their conduct during the whole of these im- 
portant transactions, it does not appear that^ 
on this point, the charge of inconsistency can 
be justly alleged against them. It was only 
when the measure, to which they were favour- 
able at first, ended in consequences which they 
had not contemplated, and were not prepared 
to approve, that they withdrew their concur- 
rence, and shrunk from all further participation 
in it. 

But the firmness of the Archbishop and the 
other bishops in steadily resisting, on this occa- 
sion, the pressing solicitations of James, had^ 
it is probable, a very important effect on the 
issue of the great struggle in which the nation 
was now engaged. These prelates were then 


deservedly standing on the highest ground of 
popularity^ as the great supporters of the Pro- 
testant cause, and the champions of the public 
liberties. If they, therefore, had publicly ex- 
pressed their disapprobation of the Princes 
expedition, their opinion would have had a 
powerful effect on the public feeling at this 
critical juncture ; many of those who were 
favourers of the expedition would have begun 
to doubt their own judgment, when opposed to 
such high authority, and would either . have 
shrunk entirely from the support of the cause, 
or would have supported it with less zeal and 
activity. Thus the least consequence would 
have been, that the parties would have been 
more equally balanced, and that the Revolution 
would not have been effected with that full 
concurrence of the nation, which eventually 
took place. 

In addition to this, it has been surmised that, 
had the bishops, as a body, publicly expressed 
their abhorrence of the Prince's design, they 
would have been so decidedly committed in 
opposition to the principles on which the Re- 
volution was effected, that they could not have 
borne a part in the subsequent establishment 
of the government, and that even the downfall 
of episcopacy might have been the consequence. 


Bishop Sprat* is strongly of opinion that the 
contrary conduct of the Scotch bishops')* at this 
juncture was the main and principal cause of 
the abolition of episcopacy in that kingdom. 
The Scotch bishops were drawn into a declara- 
tion expressing their abhorrence of the Prince 
of Orange's design : they were, in consequence, 
prevented, from a regard to their own copsis- 
tency, from acting in parliament immediately 
after the Revolution ; and their absence from 
Parliament left the field entirely open to the 
Presbyterian party, who made good use of the 
opportunity, and procured their establishment 
by law. " Thus," says Bishop Sprat, J " as the 

* See Bishop Sprat*s Letters to the Earl of Dorset. 

f A letter to the king from the Scotch bishops appears in the 
London Gazette, dated Edinburgh, November Sd, 1688. After 
expressing gratitude to him for favours, and congratulating on 
the birth of the prince, it proceeds — " We are amazed to hear 
of the danger of an invasion from Holland, which excites our 
prayers for an universal repentance to all orders of men, that 
God may yet spare his people, preserve your royal person, and 
prevent the efiiision of Christian blood, and give success to your 
Majesty*s arms 3 that all who invade your Majesty's just and 
undoubted rights, and disturb or interrupt the peace of your 
realms, may be disappointed and clothed with shame, so that 
on your royal head the crown may still flourish.'* 

It is signed by the Archbishops of St. Andrews and Glasgow, 
and ten bishops. 

X See Letters to the Earl of Dorset. 


refusal of the English bishops to stand by the 
doctrines of passive obedience saved episco- 
pacy in England, so the adherence of the Scotch 
bishops to those doctrines destroyed it in Scot- 

* Bishop Burnet agrees in the ^t, that the circumstance of 
the hishops and those who adhered to them not appearing in the 
Convention in Scotland, left the field open tar the Presbyterian 
party, and thus paved the way for the abolition of episcopacy. 
He relates, however, that the episcopal party in Scotland sent 
the Dean of Glasgow, in their names, to wait on the Prince of 
Orange, as soon as he came to St. James*s ) and that the Prince 
expressed favourable intentions towards them : but afterwards, 
on their expecting another revolution, they resolved to adhere 
firmly to King James*s interest, and declared in a body against 
the new settlement. This it was, according to him, which 
made it impossible for the king to preserve the episcopal go- 
vernment there, " all who expressed their zeal for him being 
equally zealous against that order.** — Burnet's Own Times, 
ii. 23. 




Address of the Peers to King James — His Answer — His iU ad- 
vised and vacillating Measures — His Flight — Meeting of the 
Veers at Guildhall — their Declaration to the Prince of Orange 
— Remarks upon it — Archbishop Sancrofi vindicated from the 
Charge of Inconsistency — His Election to the ChanceUorship 
of Cambridge — Refusal of it — Letters on the Subject, 

At the time when the last of these interviews 
between the king and the bishops took place, 
the Prince of Orange, with his army, was ac- 
tually on British ground. The greatest alarm 
was now excited in the public mind that the 
kingdom was about to be delivered up to all 
the horrors and disorders of a civil war ; and 
those even who had felt, in the strongest man- 
ner, the necessity of resorting to foreign inter- 
ference, were struck with anxiety for the result, 
when they saw army arrayed against army, and 
the standard of an invader erected in the heart 
of the kingdom. 

In this fearful emergency, the views of some 
of the leading persons in London, and, amongst 
them, of the Archbishop of Canterbury, were 


early directed towards the means of preventbg 
the mischief and confusion which appeared to 
threaten ; and the plan which they agreed upon 
was that of presenting an address to the king, 
earnestly requesting him to call, without delay, 
a free Parliament, as the measure which would 
he most effectual for putting an end to the exist- 
ing grievances, and for preventing the eflFusion 
of blood. The plan seems to have originated 
in conversation between some of the bishops 
and the Earl of Clarendon, on November 8th;* 
which must have been immediately subsequent 
to the receipt of the intelligence, that the Prince 
of Orange had landed. They agreed to mention 
it the next day to the Archbishop of Canterbury. 
The Archbishop highly approved it. Some 
meetings accordingly took place at Lambeth 
Palace, at which the Earl of Clarendon was 
present, together with several of the bishops, 
for the purpose of discussing the terms of the 
address. At last, at a final meeting held there 
on the 15th, those terms were determined ; and 
the bishops agreed to meet some temporal peers 
at the Bishop of Rochester's that evening, to 
show them the paper and to procure their sig- 

On the morning of November 17th, the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of York 

* See the Diary of Henry Earl of Clarendon. 


elect, the Bishops of Ely and Rochester, waited 
on the king and presented the address to him 
as follows.* 

" May it please your Majesty, 

'* We, your Majesty's most loyal sub- 
jects, in a deep sense of the miseries of a war 
now breaking forth in the bowels of this your 
kingdom, and of the danger to which your Ma- 
jesty's sacred person is thereby like to be ex- 
posed, as also of the distractions of your people 
by reason of their present grievances, do think 
ourselves bound in conscience of the duty we 
owe to Gk)d and to our holy religion, to your 
Majesty, and to our country, most humbly to 
offer to your Majesty, that, in our opinion, the 
only visible way to preserve your Majesty, and 
this your kingdom, would be the calling a par- 
liament regular and free in all its circumstances. 

"We, therefore, most earnestly beseech your 
Majesty, that you would be graciously pleased, 
with all speed, to call such a parliament, wherein 
we shall be most ready to promote such coun- 
sels and resolutions of peace and settlement in 
Church and State, as may conduce to youp 

* See History of the Desertion of the Throne by James II. 
p. 62, in State Tracts, vol. i. written by Edward Bohun, Esq. 

VOL. I. C C 


Majesty's honour and safety, and to the quiet- 
ing the minds of your people. 

" We do likewise humbly beseech your Ma- 
jesty, in the mean time, to use such means for 
the preventing the effusion of Christian blood, 
as to your Majesty shall seem most meet. 

" W. Cant. Nom. Ebor. 

" Grafton. W. Asaph. 

" Ormond. F. Ely. 

" Dorset. Tho. Roffen. 

" Clare. Tho. Petribubg. 

" Clarendon. T. Oxon^. 

" Burlington. Paget. 

" Anglesea. Chandois. 

" Rochester. Ossulston." 

" Newport. 

The king gave the following answer* to the 
address of the peers, from which it is justly in- 
ferred, that he was by no means pleased with 

" My Lords, 

" What you ask of me, I most pas- 
sionately desire, and I promise you, upon the 
faith of a king, that I will have a parliament, 

* Sec History of the Desertion. — Ibid. 


and such an one as you ask for, as soon as ever 
the Prince of Orange has quitted this redm. 
For how is it possible a parliament should be 
free in all its circumstances, as you petition for, 
whilst an enemy is in the kingdom, and can 
make a return of near an hundred voices." 

This answer of the king to the peers was 
equivalent to a direct refusal, and was liable to 
the worst interpretation. Such was, at this 
time, the want of confidence on the part of the 
public in his honour and good faith, that they 
believed his disposition to perform his promises 
would last no longer than the necessity which 
had urged him to make them. To say that he 
would call a Parliament as soon as the Prince 
of Orange had left the kingdom with his army, 
was interpreted to mean, and possibly was in- 
tended to mean by those who advised him, that 
he wished, at all events, to get rid of the foreign 
force which threatened to oblige him to com- 
pliance, and then designed to revert to his old 
measures. Even at this time, when the Prince 
was occupying with his army a part of the 
kingdom, it is probable that, had the king de- 
termined, at once, and without hesitation, on 
the advice of his peers, to issue writs for sum- 
moning a Parliament, and openly promised to 
refer to it all matters of difference between 

c c2 


himself and his people, the final issue of these 
events to his fortunes might have been very dif- 
ferent. The time which he lost before he came 
to this measure was not to be recovered. But 
he seems at this time to have been little aware 
how entirely he had forfeited the good opinion 
and the affections of his people, and to have 
fully expected that he should meet with suffi- 
cient support to enable him to repel the invader 
of his kingdom. 

On the evening of the day on which he <^ve 
this answer to the peers, he set out from Lon- 
don to take the command of his army. He got 
as far as Salisbury, found that the Prince was 
hourly becoming stronger by the accession of 
persons of all ranks, that his own friends and 
supporters were dropping oflF from him one by 
one, and that he could place no dependance on 
the army which still nominally adhered to him. 
Consequently, after staying at Salisbury a few 
days, he left it with precipitation, and returned 
to London on the 26th of November. 

On the day after his arrival, he summoned all 
the peers, spiritual and temporal, who were in 
or near London, to attend him in the afternoon.* 
About forty of them came ; it is not distinctly 

* See Kennett^s Hbtory, iii. 499. and Clarendon*s Diary, 
NoTember 27th, 1688. 


Stated that the Archbishop of Canterbury was 
amongst the number, but there seems to be 
little doubt that he was. The king, addressing 
the meeting, told them that he had called them 
together to consider of the matter of the peti- 
tion which some of them had delivered to him 
the day he set out on his journey ; that, being 
then on the point of departing, he could not 
give an immediate answer to it ; that he had 
observed in his journey the general desire of 
the counties through which he passed, for a 
parliament; that, in consequence of this, he 
now had summoned the peers for the purpose 
of advising with them as to what was best to be 
done in the existing emergency. Some of the 
peers gave their opinions very freely respecting 
the measures which had brought affairs to the 
present crisis ; and the sum of the advice given 
was, that he should summon a parliament im^ 
mediately ; that he should send commissioners 
to negociate a treaty with the Prince of Orange, 
by which the meeting of a Parliament might be 
facilitated ; that a pardon should be issued for 
all who had joined the Prince, and that all 
Roman Catholics should be dismissed from the 
court. It is stated that none of the spiritual 
peers bore any part in this discussion. In con- 
clusion, after a serious and warm debate, the 
king spoke to this eflFect : — " My lords, I have 

c c3 


heard you all; you have spoken with great 
freedom, and I do not take it ill of any of you. 
I may tell you, I will call a parliament ; but, 
for the othfer matters you have proposed, they 
are of great importance, aftd you will not won- 
der that I take one night to consider of them." 
As to the part of their advice which related to 
the Roman Catholics, he said he was unwilling 
to grant it, and would leave this matter to be 
debated in Parliament. 

In consequence, on the next day, November 
28th, he gave orders to the Chancellor to issue 
writs for summoning a Parliament on the I5th 
of January following, and he signified this de- 
termination to the public, by a proclamation, 
on the 30th.* It is very striking and very in- 
structive to observe how this misguided mo- 
narch, by his course of ill-timed and vacillating 
measures, contrived that his concessions should 
always lose their eflFect with the public, by 
being made with a bad grace, and carrying too 
evident an appearance of being extorted from 
him. Only eleven days before, he had posi- 
tively refused to call a parliament while the 
Prince of Orange, with his army, was on Bri- 
tish ground. Now he consented to do so, but 
at a time when this consent was wholly una- 

* History of the Desertion, p. 82. 


vailing to the support of his cause, his feeble- 
ness having been betrayed, his authority wholly 
sunk into contempt, and his opponent, sur- 
rounded by many of the leading persons in the 
kingdom, in a state to dictate to him as he 
pleased. It is very remarkable too, that there 
is considerable reason to doubt whether, even 
at this period, he was sincere in the intention 
of summoning a parliament.* For, so late as 
December 10th, the day when he left London 
with the intention of quitting the country, he 
ordered those writs which had not been issued 
to be burnt, and a caveat to be entered against 
making use of those which had been issued. 
The fact of the writs having not been all issued 
at an interval of so many days from the time 
when they were ordered, has been deemed a 
proof that he was not in earnest in the intention 
of calling a parliament.! 

When James on the 10th of December left 
London, for the purpose of making his way to 
France, those who had most firmly adhered 

* See History of the Desertion, p. 87. 

t It ought, however, to he ohserved, that it is not stated 
what proportion of the writs remained without heing issued on 
the 10th of December; and that, possibly, they were only or 
chiefly those belonging to the western counties, occupied by 
the Prince of Orange and his adherents, to which they could 
not coDYeniently be sent. 

C C 4 


to him immediately turned their views to the 
Prince of Orange, as to the only person whose 
protecting authority could be called in to se- 
cure the public peace. The day following, 
December 11th, the spiritual and temporal 
peers who were at that time in London and its 
vicinity, assembled at Guildhall, as hereditary 
counsellors and guardians of the kingdom, 
whose office it was, during the vacancy of the 
throne, to provide for the public safety and to 
take measures for the prevention of general 
disorder. The Archbishop of Canterbury acted 
at this meeting in concurrence with the other 
peers. It is stated* that some warm debates 
took place on the occasion; but at last they 
came to the resolution, that application should 
be made to the Prince of Orange, by way of 
declaration, to call a free parliament. The de- 
claration was drawn up in the following tenns.t 
" We doubt not but the world believes that, 
in this great and dangerous conjuncture, we 
are heartily and zealously concerned for the 
Protestant religion, the laws of the land, and 
the liberties and properties of the subject. 
And we did reasonably hope, that, the king 
having issued his proclamation and writs for 

* See Life of Kettlewell, p. 187. Oct^. Ed". 
t Keiiiiett*8 History, ▼. iii. 501. 


a free parliament^ we might have rested secure 
under the expectation of that meeting. But, 
his Majesty having withdrawn himself, and, as 
we apprehend, in order to his departure out of 
this kingdom, by the pernicious counsels of 
persons ill-affected to our nation and religion, 
we cannot, without being wanting to our duty, ' 
be silent under these calamities, wherein the 
popish counsels, which so long prevailed, have 
miserably involved these realms : we do, there- 
fore, unanimously resolve, to apply ourselves to 
his Highness the Prince of Orange, who, with 
80 great a kindness to these kingdoms, so vast 
expense, and so much hazard to his own person, 
hath undertaken, by endeavouring to procure a 
free parliament, to rescue us, with as little ef- 
fusion as possible of Christian blood, from the 
imminent dangers of popery and slavery. 

" And we do hereby declare, that we will, 
with our utmost endeavours, assist his High- 
ness in the obtaining such a parliament with all 
speed, wherein our laws, our liberties, and pro- 
perties may be secured; the Church of Eng- 
land in particular, with a due liberty to Protes- 
tant dissenters, and, in general, the Protestant 
religion and interest over the whole world, may 
be supported and encouraged, to the glory of 
God, the happiness of the established govern- 
ment in these kingdoms, and the advantage of 


all princes and states in Christendom, that may 
be herein concerned. 

" In the meanwhile, we will endeavour to 
preserve, as much as in us lies, the peace and 
security of these great and populous cities of 
London and Westminster, and the parts adja- 
cent, by taking care to disarm all Papists, and 
secure all Jesuits and Romish priests who are 
in and about the same. 

" And if there be anything more to be per- 
formed by us, for promoting his Highness s 
generous intentions for the public good, we 
shall be ready to do it as occasion shall re- 

This declaration was signed by the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, the elect Archbishop of 
York, and twenty-seven other spiritual and 
temporal peers. 

In pursuance of the avowed purpose of this 
meeting, the preservation of the public peace 
during the absence of the king,* the lords sent 
for the lieutenant of the Tower of London, who 
had lately been placed there by King James, 
and demanded from him the keys. The officer 
consented to give them without hesitation, and 
they intrusted the care of them to Lord Lucas, 
a nobleman of known honour and integrity. 

* Kennett's History, v. iii. 501. 


It should be well observed, that, in the pre- 
ceding declaration, the peers say nothing about 
giving the Prince of Orange any authority in 
the state, either permanently or provisionally; 
they do not even invite him to come to the me- 
tropolis, as was done on the same day in ad- 
dresses both from the lieutenancy and from the 
corporation of London. They merely apply to 
him to rescue the nation from the dangers and 
disorders which threatened, with as little effu- 
sion of blood as possible, and bind themselves 
to assist him in obtaining a free parliament, by 
which the interests of the church and state 
might be secured. It is stated,* that one of the 
noblemen who had been concerned m inviting 
the Prince of Orange to England, proposed at 
the meeting, that the peers there assembled 
should form an association of adherence to his 
Highness, but no one was found to second the 

The attendance at this meeting and signing 
this address to the Prince of Orange, was the 
last public measure in which Archbishop San- 
croft bore any part. It is mentioned,-}* that the 
experience of what he saw at this first meeting 
did not encourage him tp attend a second. The 
meaning is, no doubt, that he perceived the 

* Life of KettlewcU, p. 187. t Ibid. p. 188. 


bearing of opinions towards the total exclusion of 
James from the government ; and as he did not 
approve of this measure, he declined being pre- 
sent at the subsequent meeting's. The peers 
again assembled,* three days after, December 
14th; and, as another measure of precaution for 
the peace of the kingdom, issued an order, re- 
quiring all officers and soldiers to repair to their 
respective regiments. Several bishops attended 
on this occasion ; but the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury was absent. 

However, two days after, December 16tb,his 
old master. King James, who it was thought 
had left the kingdom, returned from Feversham 
to Whitehall. He was well received by the 
populace in the streets, and as soon as he 
arrived, his court was thronged with nobility.f 
Among others the Archbishop of Canterbury 
attended, with several bishops. It is stated 
that the king showed himself pleased with the 
address which the peers assembled at Guild- 
hall had made to the prince, and expressed to 
one of the bishops how sensible he was that 
they had shown themselves zealously concerned 
for him on that occasion.;}; 

* Kennett, iii. 532. 

f See the London Mercury, December 18th. 

X See Life of Kettlewell, p. 188. 


From the share which Archbishop Sancroft 
took in this meeting at Guildhall, compared 
with his subsequent line of conduct, the 
strongest ground for the charge of inconsist- 
ency against him has been generally conceived 
to exist. But, perhaps, whatever may be 
thought of the whole of his conduct during 
these great transactions, it may not be a diffi- 
cult matter in great measure to absolve him 
from this particular charge. It seems perfectly 
clear that he attended the meeting as a peer 
and counsellor of the realm, solely for the pur- 
pose of preserving the public peace during the 
absence of the king; not with the least design 
of declaring the throne vacant, or of transfer- 
ring the sovereign authority, even for a time> to 
another. The terms of the declaration, which 
he subscribed, clearly pledge him to nothing 
further. He there concurs in inviting the 
prince to call without delay a free parliament 
which was the principal declared purpose of 
his coming to England, and to which he looked 
as a sufficient and sure instrument for settling 
the government and the church on a firm foot- 
ing of security. It is true that others, who on 
that occasion acted with him, saw, and, we 
may safely say, more correctly saw, that no 
calling of a parliament could permanently avail 
to any effectual purpose while a person of 


James's bigotted and headstrong disposition 
remained at the helm of government ; and, feel- 
ing that his flight from the kingdom at that 
time was a virtual abdication of the throne, 
were prepared to invest the Prince of Orange 
with sovereign authority. But, as Archbishop 
Sancroft attended the meeting with no such 
feeling and intention, and seems to have main- 
tained to the last the view on which he acted 
from the first, he deserves not to b^ charged 
with inconsistency. 

While these important events were transact- 
ing in public, a singular and most gratifying 
proof of the high respect in which Archbishop 
Bancroft's character was held, was afforded by 
the University of Cambridge, in their unso- 
licited election of him to the distinguished 
oflSce of Chancellor of that university ; and in 
their perseverance in urging him to fill that 
high situation in opposition to his declared and 
earnest wishes. 

On the first rumour of the decease of the 
preceding chancellor, the Duke of Albemarle, 
the views of some leading persons in the uni- 
versity seem to have been immediately di- 
rected towards the Archbishop. Before the 
vacancy was even ascertained. Dr. Montegu, 
Master of Trinity College, wrote to him to 
inquire whether, in the event of the choice of 


the senate falling upon him, he should be willing 
to accept the appointment. The Archbishop 
sent the following reply,* in which, with many 
expressions of kindness and gratitude to those 
friends who were disposed to confer this ho- 
nour upon him, he signifies his positive deter- 
mination to decline it. 

To Dr. Montagu, Master of Trinity College, 
Cambridge, from Archbishop Sancroft. 

Dated Lambeth H. Nov. 30th, 1688. 

*' Honourable & much honoured Sir, 

" The news of your Chancellor's death 
hath filled the town. But it comes from a 
place very remote ; and how many persons have 
I known reported and believed to be dead, in 
London, who yet have outlived that report 
many years. So that, according to the com- 
mon style of news, it wants a confirmation. 
For, should you go on to a choice, while the 
place is foil, it would be a double aflFront, both 
to him that was, and to him that shall be cho- 
sen. Next for what concerns myself: though 
I am (as I ought) deeply sensible of the great 
honour which you (and if there be any others 
of your mind) have done me, in the esteem 
and good opinion you express of me, yet I 

• See Harl. MSS. v. 3783. 80. 


should very unhandsomely comply with that 
obligation if I should at all hearken to what 
you propound. My great age, and many in- 
firmities, and the little or no power which I 
have, or am ever like to have, where you are 
chiefly to be served and protected, move me, 
upon due deliberation, to affirm positively that 
I cannot, and (to put all out of doubt, and so 
to save further trouble on both sides) to resolve 
peremptorily, that I will not, consent to that 
which, with so much kindness to me and so 
much disadvantage to yourselves, you design 
for me. Notwithstanding, whatever I am, or 
shall ever be, able to do for the service of that 
most illustrious body, as it is due from me 
upon a thousand titles, so, you may assure 
yourselves, shall be ever most readily and cheer- 
fully paid you, to the utmost of my power. 
And, lastly, as to the supplying the vacancy, 
if really it shall prove to be so, I shall make no 
difficulty (having looked round about me) to 
say, that I cannot see how it can be better 
filled, than if you shall think fit to choose 
the Earl of Clarendon, who, if I had any right 
in the election, should not want the clear and 
determinate suffrage of 

** Your very affectionate, 
•* Obliged, faithful Friend, 

** W. Cant." 


Notwithstanding the fixed determination here 
expressed, the university, on proceeding to an 
election after the vacancy was declared, di- 
rected their choice to the Archbishop, as the 
person most deserving of the high honour, and 
best qualified to maintain their interests and 
dignity. The following letters from Dr. Mon- 
tagu, and from Dr. Covel, Master of Christ's 
College, announced to him the unanimous de- 
cision of the senate. From the first it seems 
clearly to be inferred that they had intended to 
accept his recommendation of the Earl of Cla- 
rendon, but were prevented from electing him 
by a letter firom the king. 

" Trinity CoUege, Dec. 15th, 1688 * 

*' May it please your Grace, 

*' We hope your Grace will pardon 
us, if, after your Grace's pleasure signified to 
the contrary, we nevertheless presume to con- 
fer the trouble of the chancellorship upon your 
Grace : such has been all along the inclination 
of the university to your Grace's person, and 
such the exigency of the present affairs, that 
we could not, without great reluctancy to our 
desires, nor without manifest prejudice to our 
interest, forbear at this time to offer some vio- 
lence to your Grace's deliberate resolution; for^ 

* SceHarl. MSS. 3783. 81. 
VOL. I. D D 


there cooimg a letter firom above to intercept 
tlie choice of that noble lord^ your Grace had 
recommended, whom before we were all pre- 
pared to have chosen, both for your Grace's 
sake and his own, we feared lest, after the re- 
ceipt of that letter, there might follow a divi- 
sion of the university into parties, and, there- 
fore, rather than lose the design of being under 
your Ghrace^s protection, since we could not in 
the way you had proposed, we were forced to 
be troublesome to your Grace in your own per- 
son, being very well assured that all the uni- 
versity would readily and cheerfully unite in 
your Grace's name; which accordingly was 
unanimously resolved upon this morning, in 
the Regent House ; so that we doubt not your 
Grace will easily excuse the importunity of 
this election, since what was our earnest desire, 
became at last our necessity too. Providence 
so ordering it, that we should be made happy 
by your Grace in this way, though against your 
Grace's intentions. My Lord, I humbly b^ 
your Grace's benediction, and remain 

" Your Grace's most dutiful 
" And obedient Servant, 

" Jo. Montagu.'* 

* The Earl of Clarendon had gone over to the FHnce of 
Orange in the heginning of this month ; which suSeiently ex- 
plains the cause of the king's writing to prevent his dectioQ. 

'' Chr. Coll. Camb. Dec. 15th, 1688.* 

" May it please your Grace, 

" My Lord, this morning your Grace 
was chosen Chancellor of our University, by 
the unanimous consent of the senate; which 
we hope you will interpret no otherwise than 
as our most humble duty and profound respect 
unto you. I must confess it ever was my 
opinion that we could be nowhere so happy 
as under your protection, and I must acknow- 
ledge it my greatest joy, that, by our joint 
consent, we have thus marked out the Father 
of our Church for our most sincere Patron. 
To-morrow, the whole Senate will make their 
humble address to your Grace by our public 
letter; but I counted myself more particularly 
obliged (first begging your blessing) by this 
more early notice to lay my own most affec- 
tionate services at your sacred feet. 

" My Lord, your Grace's 
" Most obedient Son, 
" And faithful Servant, 



The following is the public official letter of 
the University to the Archbishop, announcing 
his election, which was approved and voted in 
the senate on the same day.f 

* Harl. MSS. 3783. 82. f IbW. 3783. 83. 

D d2 


'' £ freq. Senatu, 16 Cal. Jan. 1688. 

" Quod te dudum annis gpravem, et 
glorify magnisque nunquam non rebus, nunc 
autem ihaximis, distentum, ad novas vocamus 
curas, id more hominum facimus, Reverendis- 
sime Praesul, apud quos obtinet (seu id vitiuin 
est seu natura nostra) ut sibi proximus quis- 
que quae ad se attinent anxi^ agat, nimis interim 
securus spectator alieni. Neque enim pensita- 
mus quid canis vestris conveniat, quid prae- 
teritis laboribus, quid imminentibus, debeatur; 
sed quid rebus nostris sit utile, quid nobis usui 
maxim^ futurum. Quocirca, simul atque nobis 
constitisset desiisse jam esse mortalem nuperum 
Heroem Albemarlensem, simul omnes te unicfe 
intuemur, te unum poscimus Cancellarium. Sa- 
pimus itaque ut ut immodesti, nee in nobis pru- 
dentiam requirat quisquam, utcunque clamet 
inverecundiiis factum. Accipe autem, pien- 
tissime Antistes, aequique consulas munus illud, 
quod tibi quam demississimis oflTert precibus 
Alma Mater. Quae te olim suum gloriata, jam 
se vicissim tuam vocari gestit. Est quidem 
illud eminenti& vestrA baud ita fortasse dignum, 
dignum tamen quod a nobis ofFeratur, cum non 
sit penes nos quidquam par aut simile : Quod 
si contractius apparet et imminutum, ampli- 
tudini detur vestrae, quae tanta est ut vel 
maxima quaeque minora videantur, si cum e^ 


juxta posita conferantur. At nos solatur exi- 
mius animi vestri candor, singularis ilia et rara 
in tarn sublimi loco moderatio; solatur ver^ 
patema pietas, qud es in omnes filios vestros, 
quos non verbis magis quam factis ad venim 
numinis cultum instruis, iisque illustri docu- 
mento ostendis, quam arcto nexu socientur 
fides Deo debita, quaeque debetur principi fide- 
litas. Diu nobis praefuisti exemplo; superest 
dehinc imperio agas, et auctoritate, quam, tot 
virtutibus comparatam, tantis subnixam doti^ 
bus, stabilem vovemus, et diutumam. 
** Patemitati vestrae devotissimi 
" Procancellarius reliquusque 

** Senat. Acad. Cantabrig/' 

Dr. Covel, in transmitting to the Archbishop 
this public letter, wrote privately to Dr. Pa- 
man, then resident in his household at Lambeth 
Palace, in the following terms, explaining the 
motives which had induced the senate to per- 
severe in their choice, and expressing the hope 
that he might still be induced to accede to their 

"December J 7th, 1688* 

" Sir, 

" This person comes with our public 
letter to wait upon my Lord Archbishop, now 
our Chancellor elect; your last letter came too 

* Harl. MSS. 3783. 84. 
D d3 

^. . 

•VMS zsTK CF xRCWBtsmjw SA5"cm.orr. 

DDT we nact cmiAUL mm ue dxr before. 
Wat. ^otxi Ikictor. be noc traohfed, far it was 
own act aai deeiL idock ptufwio: wim ad- 
otfaecs buL or wiiajt pamcular des^n they 
wmAt relate xd« I kzmv not: but mv owm ntH 


could miwkeie so »ciirely lodge, 
IS wbse we ft&^e dcaie itz tiiese seemed to be 
the thofcsk^ of die fenermfitT of tim»ti tKat I 
csnvened wkk. and br the Totes I guess it to 
bove beea the ofiiiiBoa d aD die lest. How- 
ever, if his Grace be displeased, we lK>pe we 
shaD by Ais oaeaiis gain some more time to 
h»k about ib better; we bare foarteen dap 
more ajfter bb refbsal: I profess it would trouble 
me exttemehr if bb Grace sboold be off^ded 
at what I am sure we intended as an expres- 
»()Q of oar unfeigned duty and respect, as 
much as coDsohing of our own interest. In this 
juncture of afiairs, I fully persuade myself his 
Grace may be induced to patronize his univer- 
sity, so far at least as to let us have so much 
opportunity of settling our affairs with the 
greatest deliberation that he can afford us. 
With my hearty respects to you, I subscribe 


" Worthy Sir, 

" Your ever fiadthful Servant, 


To the worthy Dr. Hem PamoM 
Arckbiskop's Palact, at Lambdk: 

Pamam, at wty Lord 


Fixed as the Archbishop was, from the first, ' 
in the determination not to accept the office of 
chancellor, it was very improbable that the course 
which events took subsequently to his election 
would bring him to a different decision : for he 
must very soon have perceived what the conse- 
quence of these events to himself was likely to 
prove. Still, the University seem to have 
awaited his final resolve with becoming defer- 
ence, leaving the office at his disposal for a cour 
siderable time. By the following letter ad- 
dressed to him from Dr. Covel, bearing date 
the 23d of the following February, more than 
two months after the date of his election, it 
appears that no steps had been taken at that 
time towards proceeding to another election. 

Feb. 23d, 168f * 

" I presumed some weeks since to 
give you the trouble of an humble address, for 
which I beg a thousand pardons, if, as I fear by 
your silence, it was unseasonable : yet I cannot 
but count it my duty now to acquaint you, as 
our chancellor, that we have thoughts of some 
verses to their Majesties, and I am told by 
some from London that they may be expected. 
I humbly beg one word of advice next post or 

* HarL MSS. 3783. 85. 
D D 4 


sooner ; for, if the affair go on, it will be time 
we should begin forthwith. I humbly and 
heartily beg your blessing. 

" My Lord, 
" Your Grace's most obedient Son, 
" And faithful Servant, 

" JoH. CovEi.'' 

It will be observed that " their majesties" 
spoken of in this letter were William and Mary, 
whom the Archbishop, from conscientious mo- 
tives, already refused to acknowledge. 

At what precise period they proceeded to 
another election, on Archbishop Sancroft's de- 
clinmg the honour, cannot be ascertained; but 
as a letter of thanks* to the university from the 
Duke of Somerset, the nobleman elected in his 
room, bears date March 20th, 168^, it may be 
concluded that his election took place about 
the middle of that month. 

* In the Registrar s Office at Cambridge. 




Refusal of the Archbishop to wait on the Prince of Orange, or 
take any part in the pubUc Measures — His views respecting the 
settling of the Gaoernment — Appointment of King William 
and Queen Mary to the Throne — Re/lections on his taking n9 
part in the great public Transactions — His refusal to take the 
new Oath — General regret at his Scruples — Attempts of Ids 
Friends in las fatour — His Suspension and Deprivation- — Ap- 
pmntment of a Successor — Retains Possession of Lambeth 
Palace tUl ejected by Law, 

The day after the arrival of the Prince of 
Orange in London, all the prelates who were in 
or near the metropolis, with the exception of 


the Archbishop of Canterbury, waited on him 
to pay their respects. Bishop Burnet states* 
that the Archbishop had once consented to wait 
on him ; but this fact rests on his sole autho- 
rity. When the House of Lords assembled, 
December 22d, the Archbishop was absent from 
his place there. His friends were extremely 
urgent in pressing his attendance; he showed 
great disinclination to take this step; but at 

* Sec Burnet's Own Times, v, i. p. 802. 


one time they thought they had prevailed. So 
important did some of them deem it to procure 
his attendance, that on perceiving his absence, 
they actually sent a message from the House to 
press him to come. His refusal was attributed 
at the time to the damp thrown upon his spirits 
by the king's departure.* 

One of the first letters which King James 
wrote after his departure from the kingdom 
was addressed to Archbishop Sancroft. In 
this he told him that the suddenness of his de- 
parture had been such, as to prevent his hold- 
ing a conversation with him, as he had in- 
tended, in order to lay before him the motives 
of his conversion to the Roman Catholic reli- 
gion ; that, although he had not thought proper 
to enter largely into this subject on a former 
occasion, when he (the Archbishop) had at- 
tempted to bring him back to the Protestant 
church, yet he never refused speaking freely 

* See Diary of the Earl of Clarendon.—'' Dec. 22d. My 
brother and I dined at^Lambeth^ where we met the Bishops of 
Ely and Peterborough : our business was to persuade the Arch- 
bishop to come to the House of Lords, to which he was ex- 
tremely averse; but at last we prevailed with him, and he 
promised us to be there on Monday. 

" Dec. 24th. The House of Lords met. My Lord of Can- 
terbury came not — the Bishop of Ely and I sent to him, but 
the king's being gone had cast such a damp upon him that he 
would not come, which many of us were sorry for. His de- 
claiing himself at this time would have had weight among us.'* 


with persons of the Protestant persuasion, and 
particularly with himself, whom he always con- 
sidered to be his friend, and for whom he had a 
great esteem. He added, that he had remained 
for many years a zealous son of the church of 
England, in whose doctrine he had been edu- 
cated; that he had not been persuaded to 
change his religion while he was young, and 
resident abroad, but that his conversion had 
taken place in his riper years, and on the full 
conviction of his mind as to the controverted 
points.* Probably, the expressions of kind- 
ness contained in this letter contributed to con- 
firm the Archbishop in the conscientious at- 
tachment to James, which he ever afterwards 

In the mean time, the Archbishop's friends 
were urgent with him to wait upon the Prince 
of Orange, or to send a message to him by 
some of the bishops ; but this he positively re- 
fused. Lord Clarendon states, that he fre- 
quently pressed this point, without success. 
The same nobleman mentions, that, on the 3d 
of January, he dined with the Archbishop, in 
company with Dr. Tennison, and had some con- 
versation with him on the subject of the ap- 

* See Stuart Papers, v. i. 539, 540} taken from King Jameses 
Private Memoirs. 


proaching convention. He asked the Arch- 
bishop, whether he should not think of pre- 
paring something by that time in behalf of the 
Dissenters. Dr. Tennison added, it would be 
expected by the public that something would 
be offered in pursuance of the petition which 
the bishops had presented to the king. The 
Archbishop said, he was well aware of the con- 
tents of the petition ; and he^ believed every 
bishop in England intended to make it good, 
when an opportunity should be afforded of de- 
bating these matters in Convocation ; but, till 
that should occur, or without a commission from 
the king, it was highly penal to enter into church 
matters: however, he said he would bear the 
subject in mind, and should be willing to 
discourse respecting it with any of the bishops 
or clergy who might come to him, although he 
believed the Dissenters would never agree 
amongst themselves, as to the conditions that 
would satisfy them. To this Dr. Tennison re-r 
plied, that he was quite of the same opinion^ 
although he had not discoursed with any of 
them on the subject. He added, that the 
proper mode of proceeding was, not that the 
matter should be discussed beforehand with 
the Dissenters, but that the bishops should 
propose such concessions in parliament as 
would be advantageous to the Church wheth^ 


accepted by the Dissenters or not. The Arch- 
bishop answered, that, when a Convocation 
should meet, these matters would be consi- 
dered ; in the meantime^^ he knew not what to 
say, but would think of what had now been 
proposed by them.* 

During all this period, the Archbishop, al- 
though he forbore to come forward in public, 
or to take any steps which would pledge him to 
an opinion on the important question of settling 
the government, was very anxiously employed 
in private in discussing the subject, and there- 
by endeavouring to come to a right decision. 
Amongst his papersf which now remain, written 
with his own hand, are full and copious state- 
ments of the arguments adduced on all sides 
of the question; and from the pains and labour 
manifestly bestowed on collecting and putting 
these together, we have the most convincing 
proof that he formed his ultimate judgment on 
no light view of the subject, and not without 
a mature consideration of it in all its bearings. 

* Clarendon*8 Diary, January 3d, ] 68|. 

t See Tanner's MSS. particularly vol. 459, which is almost 
entirely written with the Archbishop's own hand, and contains 
copious discussions respecting the settlement of the govern- 
ment, the new oaths, the statute of praemunire, and other 
similar topics. 


One of the principal papers referred to, is 
entitled " The present State of the English 
Government considered. — January, 1688."* A 
few extracts from this will give an interesting 
view of the manner in which he discussed the 
subject, and of the views of it which principally 
struck him. 

It begins as follows. 

" The fact. — ^The king, by reason of some 
unhappy principles, opposite to the religion and 
interest of his people, acted contrary to those 
laws wherein the people esteemed their greatest 
security to be, and against reason of state, to 
that degree that most people wished for any 
means to be relieved, and many encouraged a 
foreign force to invade England. This succeed- 
ing, all the people deserted the king, some 
by joining with the foreign force, others by 
sitting still, and wishing well to the reformation 
intended: and the king, having no power to 
resist, leaves the kingdom without any provi* 
sion for carrying on the government in his ab- 
sence. By these means, the government is 
without a pilot. The captain of the foreign 
force, (in whom the visible power rests,) at the 

* See Tanner*s MSS. 459. 1. The paper consists of twenty- 
five pages, written in the Archbishop's very close hand writing. 


instance of the nobility, and some commoners, 
accepts the administration of the public ,affairs, 
both military and civil, until a convention of 
the estates of the kingdom meet, to consider 
and resolve how to settle the government le- 
gally and securely. 

'* For this three ways are mentioned in dis- 

1. "To declare the commander of the foreign 
force king, and solemnly to crown him. 

2. ** To set up the next heir of the crown 
after the king's death and crown her; who, 
being the wife of the said commander, he will 
hereby have an interest in the conduct of the 
government in her right. 

3. "To declare the king, by reason of such 
his principles, and his resolutions to act accord- 
ingly, incapable of the government, with which 
such principles and resolutions are inconsistent 
and incompatible; and to declare the com- 
mander Gustos Regni, who shall carry on the 
government in the king's right and name. 

" I am clearly of opinion that the last way is 
the best, and that a settlement cannot be made 
so justifiable and lasting any other way." 

After stating some of the chief maxims of our 
law respecting the government, — as that the 
government of England is monarchical and here- 
ditary, that the king never dies, that he can do 


no wrong, that he is not punishable in his owti 
person, that no disability, as infancy, deliracy, 
can be alleged in his person; he proceeds to 
discuss the three proposed forms of settling the 
government, first as to the right of fixing ou 
each respectively, and then as to the advantage 
or disadvantage which attaches to each. On the 
right of appointmg the chief commander king, 
he says, — 

1st. " It has been affirmed by some that, by 
the king's misgovemment, the government of 
England is dissolved. The very mention of 
this sufficiently exposeth it. For then there 
remains no law, no property ; the rich are ex- 
posed to be plundered ; all estates and honours 
are levelled, &c. 

2d. " If the commander had declared an ab- 
solute conquest of the kingdom, the question 
of right had been out of doors, for then he might 
have done what he had pleased, as well in 
ordering the method of government, as in dis- 
posing of all men's estates, and all rights gene- 
ral and particular must have been derived from 
him. But, since it is referred to the convention 
to consider how to restore the ancient govern- 
ment, and to settle it legally, so that it may not 
be again legally subverted, the main question 
that remains is concerning the right, according 
to the laws of England. 



3dly. " Therefore, as the laws of England 
stand, nothing can colour the exclusion of the 
present king, and the setting up another, though 
we should suppose the whole people of England 
acting on it, unless we suppose also that they 
have an authority residing in them to judge, 
depose, and elect kings ad libitum : but that is 
contrary to the known maxims of the law of 
England above recited." 

After proceeding to show, from the history 
of England, that the right of electing kings was 
never pretended but by prosperous usurpers, 
and that, even if this right were allowed, still 
the personal consent of every subject would be 
necessary, he concludes on this head, " That 
there is no manner of pretence for the succeed- 
ing convention to alter the government : and, 
if it be done at all, it must be by force of con- 

He then discusses the second expedient, of 
declaring the next heir regent in her own right, 
and this must be upon supposal of a right to the 
crown devolved upon her, like that of a natural 
death ; and, to introduce that, the present title 
must be vacated and laid aside, either by de- 
posal or by voluntary abdication. After further 
arguing against the right to depose, he says, 
on the question of abdication, which was most 
to the present point, 

VOL. I. E E 


" How far a prince may withdraw from his 
government I will not- dispute by the rules of 
the civil law, or by the opinion of Grotius — ' 
but I do affirm that, by the common law of 
England, which is to judge between the king 
and his people in all cases that can happen ; the 
king and people, that is, the mutual ties of pro- 
tection and subjj^ction, cannot be separated or 
dissolved by any human mean whatsoever, 
much less by the king's act alone." 

After confirming this position, he concludes^ 
p. 15. 

" That which weighs down this matter is, 
that by the law of England the king cannot ab- 
dicate himself; for it is not only his right to be 
king, but it is the right of all the people of Eng- 
land, and of every individual person in it, that 
the government and justice of England should 
be in the king's name, whereby all pretences of 
usurpation and consequently tyranny, besides 
the wars and efiusions of blood in the transac- 
tions, are obviated. Nothing that any private 
man can do will determine his being a subject 
to the king; and upon the same reason, nothing 
that the king can do can make him cease to be 
king. If once the style of the government 
be altered, how just a claim have any strong 
combinations to refuse obedience, or, if they 
can, even to assume the governing power.. For 

* ' 


they may say. Jacobus Rex I know, but who 
are you. If the right stands, agreed. Jam 
sumus ergo pares. But if a new power, why 
not we ? All which cannot be answered but 
by force of arms ; against which government is 
chiefly intended." 

He then comes to consider the third plan of 
proceeding, " to declare the king inhabilis quod 
regimen Angliae, and to appoint a custos, who 
shall carry on the government in his name, and 
by his authority." " It has been observed," he 
says, that the political capacity or authority of 
the king, and his name in the government, are 
perfect and cannot fail : but his person being 
human and mortal, and not otherwise privileged 
than the rest of mankind, is subject to all the 
defects and failings of it. He may, therefore, 
be incapable of directing the government, and 
dispensing the public treasure, &c. either by 
absence, by infancy, by lunacy, deliracy, or 
apathy, whether by nature or casual infirmity, 
or, lastly, by some invincible prejudices of 
mind, contracted and fixed by education and 
habit, with unalterable resolutions superin- 
duced, in matters wholly inconsistent and in- 
compatible with the laws, religion, peace and 
true policy of the kingdom. In all these cases 
(I say) there must be some one or more persohs 
appointed to supply such defect, and vicariously 

£ £ 2 


to him, and by his power and authority, to di- 
rect public affairs. And this done, I say fur- 
ther, that all proceedings, authorities, comnnds- 
sions, grants, &c., issued as formerly, are legal 
and valid to all intents, and the people's alle- 
giance is the same still, their oaths and obliga- 
tions no way thwarted.'* 

After considering the right of the proposed 
plans, he proceeds to the advantages or disad- 
vantages resulting from them, and concludes 
with the following excellent passage, in which, 
whatever may be thought of his application of 
the principle, he admirably lays down the prin- 
ciple itself, so valuable in the judgment of every 
sound statesman and moralist, that the practice 
of what is just and right will always prove the 
best policy in the main issue of events. 

" Upon the whole, having compared the ex- 
pedients of a king de facto and a custos regni 
in point of security, I think the latter of the 
two is the more firm and secure settlement. 
But then, adding that it is the only Just one, 
too, what reason can be pretended against the 
using of it. For, after all, it is a great truth, that 
the mind and opinion of every individual per- 
son is an ingredient into the happiness or ruin 
of a government, though it be not discerned till 
it comes to the eruption of a general discontent. 
Things just, and good, and grateful, should be 


done, without expectation of immediate pay- 
ment for so doing, but in the course and felicity 
of proceedings, wherein there will certainly, 
though insensibly, be a fall return. For all 
things, in which the public is concerned, tend 
constantly, though slowly, and at last vio- 
lently, to the justice of them : and if a vis im- 
pressa happens and carries them (as for the 
most part it doth) beyond or beside what is 
just ; yet that secret vigour and influence of 
particular and private men's inclinations brings 
them back again to the true perpendicular. 
And, whoever he is that hath to do in the 
public, and slights these considerations, pre- 
ferring some political scheme before them, shall 
find his hypothesis full of flattery at the first, of 
trouble in the proceeding, and of confasion at 
the last," 

The difficulty of taking the oath of allegiance 
to a new sovereign, during the life-time of a 
former, evidently struck him forcibly at this 
period. In one part "he says, *' There is a far- 
ther difficulty in thiB way of a king de facto, 
which is not in the w&y of a eustos, from the 
oaths of allegiance, supremacy, and fealty. For 
how can he, who hath sworn that King James 
11. is the only lawful king of this realm, or that 
he will bear faith and true allegiance to him, 
his heirs and successors, take those oaths to an 

£ £ 3 


usurper ? And^ if he' takes them not, how can 
there be regular parliaments or officers, all 
being disabled that do not take them. But, sq 
long as the government mpves by the king's 
authority and in his name, all those sacred tie^, 
and settled forms of proceedings are kept, and 
no man's conscience burthened with any thing 
he needs scruple to undertake." 

It appears tha,t^ during this period of anxiety 
and expectation respecting the best mode of 
settling the government. Archbishop Sancroft 
held frequent consultations on the subject with 
his brethren on the bench, and with other lead- 
ing persons. The following letter* addressed to 
hijxk by Turner, Bishop of Ely, refers to one of 
these consultations; and shows that an inten- 
tion, in which the Archbishop participated, 
then prevailed among them, of preparing a 
paper to be presented to the Convention. 

Ely House, January 11th, I68|. 

" May it please your Grace, 

" If your Grac^ will forgive me and 
my brother our unwelcome importunities yes- 
terday, I will oflfer nothing at this time that I 
believe will be unacceptable, but something 
that, I hope, meets your own thoughts and in- 

^ Clarendon's Appendix^ p. 539. 


clinations. And it is this, to proceed in the de- 
signs of drawing up propositions of our doctrine 
against deposing, electing, or breaking the suc- 
cession. And this scheme we humbly and 
earnestly beg of your Grace to form and put 
into order for us. Without compliment, your 
Grace is better versed than all of us together in 
those repositories of canons and statutes,' 
whence these propositions should be taken. 
If you please, my Lord, to cast your eye upon 
the enclosed paper of little hints from our oaths, 
your Grace will see through my design upon 
you ; and, I hope, will oblige us all by under- 
taking it. The common law papers will fiimish 
your Grace with arguments of that kind. Could 
your Grace finish this, so that we might meet 
and settle it to-morrow, and perfect something 
of a preface before it, of inference upon it, from 
my Lord of Bath and Wells's draught; then 
we might communicate all this to some of our 
ablest advisers, and have it ready to present if 
occasion require. We came home from Lam- 
beth, four bishops, in my coach, and we could 
not but deplore our case that we should dis- 
agree in any thing, and such a thing as the 
world must needs observe. But their observ- 
ing this and insulting thereupon, makes it the 
more necessary for us and our vindication to 
find out something in which we all can agree; 

£ £ 4 


and the world may take notice of our agree- 
ment. And I see nothing likely to unite us, 
and satisfy good men, who are now expecting 
and fixing their hopes as well as eyes upon us, 
as the body to make the stand, but such a re- 
presentation as I propose. Meanwhile, if your 
Grace will be pleased thus to lay out your time 
and thoughts for us, we shall not be idle, but, 
I hope, very well busied this afternoon; for 
there is to be a meeting at Ely House of the 
most considerable city clergymen, Dr. Patrick, 
Dr. Tennison, Dr. Sherlock, and Dr. Scott : the 
three last, we are sure, are in our sentiments 
entirely, so are many, if not most, of the Lon- 
don ministers ; three bishops, St. Asaph, Peter- 
borough and myself, will be present, and Dr. 
Burnet is to sustain his notion of the forfeiture. 
Since I promised your Grace the paper I read 
at Lambeth, about the method of our proceed- 
ing, I send it ; it signifies little, and your Grace 
does not need it. But I inclose to your Grace 
another paper, which ought to be kept very 
private, but may be publi3hed one day to show 
we have not been wanting faithfully to serve 
a hard master in his extremity; and, for the 
present, it will be proof enough to your Grace, 
that, although I have made some steps, which 
you could not, towards our new masters, I did 
it purely to serve our old one, and preserve thei 


public. I beg your Grace's pardon for all my 
encroachments upon your goodness^ and remain, 
with the greatest sincerity, 

'' May it please your Grace, 
" Your most obedient and most 
" obliged affectionate Servant, 

" Fran. Ely/' 

On the 15th of the same month, a consider- 
able meeting of bishops, noblemen and others, 
took place at Lambeth Palace, amongst whom 
were the Earl of Clarendon and the celebrated 
Mr. Evelyn.* After prayers and dinner, the 
discourse fell on various serious matters con* 
nected with the existing state of public affairs. 
Mr. Evelyn expresses his regret that there 
should be, at that time, so little agreement in 
opinion among the leading persons both of the 
Lords and Commons, who were soon to con- 
vene. Some, he says, were disposed to have 
the princess proclaimed queen without hesita* 
tion, others inclined for a regency : there was a 
Tory party who were disposed to invite the king 
back on conditions, and there were republicans, 
who wished to make the Prince of Orange 
Stadholder: the Popish party were busy in 
endeavouring to throw all parties into confu- 

* See Evelyn's Diary, January 15th, 1688. 


sion : the greater part of the world seemed ac- 
tuated by ambition, or some other interest, few 
by conscience or moderate views. He adds, 
that he saw nothing of this variety of motives 
and objects in this assembly of bishops, who 
were pleased to admit him to their discussions ; 
they were unanimous* for a regency, and for 
suffering all public matters to proceed in the 
king's name ; the effect of which would be, to 
preclude all scruples as to their oath of allegi- 
ance, and to facilitate the calling of a parlia- 
ment, according to the laws in being. 

Lord Clarendon says,! ^^^ ^^ ^^is meeting, he 
urged the Archbishop (as earnestly as he could) 
to come to the approaching Convention, if it 

* Evelyn mentions that the bishops who were present with 
the Archbishop at this meeting were, Lloyd, of St. Asaph ; 
Turner, of Ely -, Kenn, of Bath and Wells ; White, of Peter- 
borough ; and Lake, of Chichester. It is observable that every 
one of these, with the single exception of Lloyd of St. Asaph, 
remaned firm to the opinion he entertained at this meeting; 
and refused to take the oaths to King William. It is remark- 
able too, that Lord Clarendon, in his account of what passed at 
the meeting, shows that he saw the turn which the opinions of 
the latter bishop were taking. He says, *' by some words he 
dropt, I fear he is too much wheedled by Burnet, and will be 
influenced by him to go further, to make the king*s going away 
a cession (a word he is very fond of), than I wish, or than will 
be fit for the public good." — Clarendon*s Diary, January 15th« 

t Ibid. 


were only for once, for the purpose of declaring 
his opinion, which would have great authority ; 
but, he adds, he would not promise. On the 
day before the assembling of the Convention, 
January 21st, he went again to Lambeth, hav- 
ing promised the Archbishop to see him once 
more before the meeting. He found there most 
of the bishops who were in town ; they all con- 
curred in pressing the Archbishop to attend the 
Convention, but he was obstinately resolved 
not to be there. 

The Convention assembled on the 22d of 
January. The Houses, after voting an address 
of thanks to the Prince, proceeded to consider 
what steps were to be taken for the settlement 
of the government in the existing emergency. 
The Commons had no difficulty in coming to 
the resolution, that '' King James, having 
broken the original contract between king and 
people, and, by the advice of wicked persons, 
violated the laws, and withdrawn himself from 
the kingdom, hath abdicated the government, 
and the throne is thereby vacant."* This they 

* The following is related by Dr. Birdi, in his Life of Til* 
lotson^ p. 162. 

'* Mr. afterwards Sir Isaac, Newton happened to be at Lam- 
beth Palace, when the intelligence was brought that the Com- 
mons had declared the throne vacant. The Ardibidiop ap- 
peared concerned at it, and said, he wbhed they had gone on a' 


soon followed up by another resolution, that 
Popery is inconsistent with the English consti- 
tution, and that, therefore, all Papists shall be 
for ever excluded from the succession to the 
English crown. The peers were much more 
slow in acceding to these resolutions, especially 
to that respecting the abdication of the king, 
and the existing vacancy of the throne. The 
question being moved, whether they should 
appopit a regent or a king, the latter alternative 
was only carried by a majority of two, the 
numbers being forty nine and fifty one. Amongst 
the bishops, and clergy in general, a strong 
feeling prevailed against every thing which 
could bear the semblance of a deposing power, 
which was amongst the most flagrant usurpa- 
tions of Popery. Accordingly, only two bi- 
shops, those of London and Bristol, voted in 
favour of filling up the throne as vacant ; the 
Archbishop of York, and eight other bishops, 

more regular method, and examined into the birth of the young 
child : he added, that there was reason to belieTe he was not 
the same as the first, which might be easily known, for he had 
a mole on his neck.*' This anecdote is remarkable ; and, if 
true, would prove that the Archbishop then entertained doubts 
respecting the legitimacy of King James's son. But there is 
no other reason to suppose that he ever entertained doubts on 
this subject ; and it will appear, that he afiterwards spoke of 
him without qualification or doubt, as Prince of Wales. 


voted for a regency. After various debates and 
conferences between the two houses, they at 
last happily came to the joint resolution, the 
only one which afforded a reasonable prospect 
of settling the government on a permanent 
foundation, and of giving real security to the 
public liberties, that, the throne being then ac- 
tually vacant, the Prince and Princess of 
Orange should be declared king and queen. 
On Wednesday, Februry 13th, the two Houses 
waited on them with a declaration to this effect', 
and on the same day, they were proclaimed in 
the metropolis, to the great joy and satisfac- 
tion of the people.* 

* Mr. Evelyn in his Diaiy, on February 2l8t, notes as fol- 
lows: — 

" Divers bishops and noblemen are not all satisfied with this 
so sudden assumption of the crown, without any previous send- 
ing and offering some conditions to the absent king. The 
Archbishop of Canterbury and some of the rest, on scruple of 
conscience, and to save the oaths they had taken, entered their 
protests and hung off, especially the Archbishop, who had not 
all this while so much as appeared out of Lambeth. This oc- 
casioned the wonder of many who observed with what zeal 
they contributed to the Princess expedition, and all the while 
also rejecting any proposals of sending again to the absent 
king, that they should now raise scruples, and such as created 
much division amongst the people, greatly rejoicing the old 
courtiers, and especially the Papists.'* We perceive no trace of 
the Archbishop's having entered any protest against the pro- 
ceedings, as is here stated. 


In all these important proceedings. Archbi- 
shop Sancroft took no public part whatever, 
never once entering the House of Lords, or de- 
claring his opinion in any public manner. In 
consequence, Bishop Burnet* and others have 
severely censured him, as acting a mean part in 
these great transactions, such as neither became 
his character nor his station. And, in truth, it 
seems by no means easy for the most partial 
hand to assign any sufficient reason for his con- 
duct, or to suggest any adequate grounds on 
which it may be justified. As the chief minister 
of that church, whose interests were mainly 
concerned in this revolution of the government, 
as the first peer and counsellor of the realm, as 
an individual who had taken so prominent a 
part in the events which had led to this emer- 
gency, and whose acknowledged virtues and 
abilities concurred with the feeling of his past 
services to give weight to his opinion, and to 
place him on a high ground of popularity with 
persons of all ranks, he seemed peculiarly called 
upon to declare his views of the existing state 
of things, and to endeavour to guide the coun- 
sels of the nation to a right decision in so diffi- 

* See Bumet*8 Own Times, v. i. 810 5 and his Reflexions 
on a Pamphlet entitled *' Some Discourses on Dr. Biunet and 
Dr. Tillotson, occasioned by the la^ Funeral Sermon of the 
former upon the latter," p. 100. 


cult a crisis. If, as appears from what is ex- 
pressed in his private writings, and from his 
subsequent line of conduct, he thought that the 
nation were in danger of violating their alle- 
giance to a legitimate sovereign, it was surely 
his duty, both to that sovereign and to the na- 
tion, boldly to deliver the reasons on which his 
opinion was founded, and to endeavour to pre- 
vent their proceeding in so erroneous a course. 
Possibly, he disallowed the authority by which 
this Convention was called ; but still he must 
have recollected that it consisted of all the per- 
sons in the nation, who from official and here- 
ditary rank, from property and general influ- 
ence, were proper to be intrusted with the high 
charge of settling the government ; and that, 
under the circumstances, no council could be 
formed for this purpose, better qualified or 
more legally convened. It cannot be said that 
he found the current of opinion going so strong 
in one direction that he thought it a vain at- 
tempt to resist it; for, as has already been 
stated, in the House of Peers, the balance was 
so nearly equal, that the smallest addition 
would have given ascendancy to the opposite 

Bishop Burnet says,* *' It is the most favour- 

* See Burnet's Reflexions, as above. 


able judgment to think that he was more indif- 
ferent about this matter, than some would lead 
us to suppose.** But surely, if by this imputed 
indifference be meant a want of anxious concern 
as to the issue of the great struggle in which 
the nation was now engaged, the extracts which 
have been given from his private papers, and 
his whole behaviour, both before and after this 
period, most fully exempt him from such a 

The most probable supposition is one which, 
although it may account for his conduct, will 
certainly not excuse it; namely, that, under 
the conflicting views which presented them- 
selves to his mind, he really could not satisfy 
himself as to the course which, on the whole, 
was best, and, therefore, abstained from taking 
any part at all. On the one hand, his long ex- 
perience of James's bigotted temper, and of the 
impossibility of relying on his promises and 
assurances in matters where his religion was 
concerned, must have excited in him a latent 
conviction that no real security could be af- 
forded to the liberties of the subject, and to the 
Protestant Church, while an opening was left 
for his resumption of the government. On the 
other hand, his strong feeling of that monarch's 
indefeasible right to the throne, and his fixed 
conscientious determination not to transfer his 


allegiance to another, prevented his acquiescing 
in the measure of his total exclusion, without 
which he still felt that nothing effectual would 
be done. As to the notion which, as we have 
seen, he in common with others, privately en- 
tertained, of declaring the king incapable of 
reigning on account of his invincible prejudices^ 
and therefore appointing a person to govern in 
his name, he must soon have seen the numerouf^ 
objections to such a step. For what would 
this have been, but to depose the king in fact, 
though not in name, by forcibly depriving him 
of the government which belonged of right to 
him ? And what an unsettled form of govern- 
ment would thus have been set up. For " the 
invincible prejudices" which were held to dis- 
qualify James, must have disqualified every 
Popish successor to the throne, or else the same 
struggle for the civil and religious liberties of 
the kingdom would probably have recurred. 
But, if all Popish successors to the throne had 
been made nominally kings, but disqualified 
from acting personally in the office on account 
of their invincible prejudices, a most strange 
and inconvenient mode of administering the 
government would have been introduced. The 
Archbishop's clear and discerning mind must 
soon have seen the numerous objections to this 
plan ; and it was probably his knowledge of 

VOL. I. F F 


these objections, and his inability to devise a 
better plan, or one more to his satisfaction, 
which prevented him from taking any public 
part at all. 

The refusal of a person so eminent in station 
and character, as Archbishop Bancroft, to bear 
any part in the public measures which were 
now agreed upon, and the circumstance of his 
not having paid his respects to the Prince of 
Orange, must have occasioned considerable 
uneasiness to those concerned in the new esta- 
blishment of the government ; since, in propor- 
tion as his former services, his known integrity, 
and his high popularity attached value to his 
concurrence, must have been the regret and 
disappointment felt at his withholding it. The 
Prince and Princess appear to have been ex- 
tremely solicitous to know his real sentiments. 
A remarkable anecdote, testifying this, is re- 
lated by Mr. Wharton, the Archbishop's chap- 
lain.* On the day on which the new sove- 
reigns were proclaimed, the queen sent two of 
her chaplains to Lambeth Palace to ask the 
Archbishop's blessing for her ; and, at the same 
time, by attending divine service in his chapel, 
to observe whether he offered up his prayers for 
the new king and queen. Mr. Wharton states. 

* See Wliftrton*s Diary in the Appendix. 


that he himself was then the only chaplain in 
attendance ; and that, feeling the delicacy of 
the situation, and being fearful of doing any 
thing which might commit the Archbishop, he 
went to him to receive his directions on the 
subject. His Grace told him that he had no 
new instructions to give him as to the prayers 
to be used in the chapel. By this Mr. Wharton 
understood him tacitly to leave the matter to 
his discretion; for the chaplains bad before made 
alterations in the selection of prayers which 
they read, without any special directions front 
him; but the Archbishop seems evidently to 
have meant, by saying that he had no new in- 
structions to give, that he desired no alterations 
to be made. Mr. Wharton, however, conceiv- 
ing that the matter was left to his discretion, 
having himself determined to pay his allegiance 
to those sovereigns whom the will of God had 
endowed with lawful authority over him, and 
being anxious not to be the means of bringing 
the Archbishop into difficulty, prayed publicly 
in the chapel for King William and Queen 
Mary. In the evening, his Grace sent for him, 
and with great heat told him, that he must 
thenceforward desist from offering prayers for 
the new king and queen, or else from perform- 
ing the duties of his chapel ; for, as long as King 
James was alive, no other persons could be 

F F 2 


sovereigns of the country. Mr. Wharton, after 
relating this anecdote, says — " The Archbishop 
had derived these scruples from the Bishops of 
Norwich, Chichester, and Ely, to the great 
detriment of the church ; for, from this period, 
he, who might have carried every thing as he 
pleased, so entirely lost all authority in the 
state, that the church was brought into consi- 
derable danger/* — Bishop Burnet* mentions it 
as a proof of the Archbishop's indifference in 
these matters, that, though his chaplains took 
the new oaths, they were not afterwards dis- 
countenanced by him. He should rather have 
mentioned it as a mark of his tolerant and in- 
dulgent temper, and of his willingness freely to 
allow to others that right which he claimed for 
himself, of acting and thinking from pure con- 
scientious motives. 

The oath of allegiance to the new sovereigns 
was taken by the two houses of parliament on 
the first days in the month of March. In the 
House of Commons very few refused to take it, 
but many in the House of Lords: in the first 
instance, not more than ninety temporal, and 
eight spiritual peers complied ; but more were 
afterwards added. The prelates who took the 
oath were the Archbishop of York, the Bishops 

* See Burnet's Reflexions, p. 100. 


of London, Lincoln, Bristol, Winchester, Ro- 
chester, Llandaff, and St. Asaph; the Bishops of 
Carlisle and St. David's afterwards followed 
their example. Those who, from a conscientious 
regard to the oath of allegiance they had taken 
to King James, absolutely refused to transfer 
their allegiance to the new government were, 
the Archbishop of Canterbury, Kenn Bishop 
of Bath and Wells, Turner of Ely, Frampton 
of Gloucester, Lloyd of Norwich, White of 
Peterborough, Thomas of Worcester, Lake of 
Chichester, and Cartwright of Chester. 

It is remarkable how soon the number of 
these prelates who refused the oath was di- 
minished by death; three of them, Thomas,* 
Cartwright, and Lake, died in the course of 
this very year; the two first, before they in- 
curred suspension ; and the last before he in- 
curred the heavier penalty of deprivation. 

King William showed every disposition on his 

* Thomas^ Bishop of Worcester, just before his death, sent 
for Dr. Hickes^ the dean of his cathedral^ and declared to him 
in the strongest terms his opinions respecting the new oaths. 
Among other things he said — *' It is time for me now to die^ 
who have outlived the honour of my religion and the liberties 
of my country. — If my heart deceive me not, and the grace of 
Grod fail me not, I think I could bum at a stake before I took 
this new oath.** Lake, Bishop of Chichester, made a similar 
declaration on his death-bed. — Life of Kettlewell^ p. 199^ 203. 

r f3 


part to conciliate Archbishop Sancroft. The 
day after he was proclaimed king, he appointed 
his list of privy counsellors ; and, notwithstand- 
ing the backwardness which the Archbishop 
had shown in paying his respects to him, he 
nominated him in the list.* The Archbishop, 
it need not be mentioned, never took his seat at 
the privy council. 

Hopes w^re entertained for some time that 
he would, on further consideration, concur with 
the great body of the nation in taking the new 
oath of allegiance ; and these hopes were per- 
haps strengthened by his consenting so far to 
exercise the functions of his office as to com- 
mission other bishops to act in his name. He 
was called upon to do this at an early period 
of the new reign, with a view to the consecra- 
tion of Dr. Burnet to the Bishopric of Salis- 
bury. Burnett affirms, that the Archbbhop at 
first absolutely refused to allow him to be con- 
secrated at all; but, afterwards discovering 
that he should incur the penalties of a prae- 
munire for disobeying the royal mandate, he 
consented to grant a commission for the pur- 
pose. He adds, that at first the Archbishop 
seemed determined to venture incurring all the 
penalties, but at last, when the danger drew 

* See London Gazettes, 

t Buraet*s Own Times, v(d. ii. p. 8. 


near, he prevented it by granting the commis- 
sion. It bore date the 15th of March, and 
empowered any three of the bishops of his pro- 
vince, in conjunction with the Bishop of Lon- 
don, to exercise during pleasure the archiepis- 
copal authority. It was drawn up* in very 
cautious terms so as not to imply the least 
direct acknowledgement of the prince filling 
the throne. 

A charge of inconsistencyf against Arch- 
bishop Sancroft has been grounded on this act 
of his consenting to grant a commission to en- 
able others to do what he deemed it unlawful 
to do himself. It may readily be allowed that, 
strictly speaking, he cannot be absolved from 
the charge, since one who acts by means of 
others, must be considered as acting for him- 
self; and it is in vain to say that the commis- 
sion did not in direct terms acknowledge the 
prince on the throne, when the very purpose 
for which it was granted, that of giving effect 
to his mandate, unavoidably implied a direct 
acknowledgement of his authority. At the 
same time, it is always found that a wide dif- 
ference is made as to the feelings of a person 
concerned, whether he personally and directly 

* Life of KettlcwcU, p. 343. 

t See Burnet's Own Times, and Bi;reh*t Life of TiUotson, 
p. 330. 

? F 4 


performs an act, or whether, remainiag. aloof 
himself, he merely acquiesces in its being per- 
formed by others. In the present instance too, 
although the Archbishop did not choose him- 
self to acknowledge the reigning authority, be 
may have felt unwilling directly to oppose 
himself to it ; which would have been done by 
his refusing to consecrate. It has been stated,* 
that the nonjuriug party afterwards complaiDed 
of him for granting this commission ; and that, 
in consequence, after the transaction was over, 
he contrived to have it withdrawn from the 
Registrar's office. 

As the Archbishop persevered in neither at- 
tending the House of Lords, nor acknowledging 
the authority of .either the king or tfee parlia- 
ment, the Lords, on the 22d of Marqh,. ad- 
dressed to him a letter,t admonishing him to 
attend there in his place the next day. He exr 
cused l^imself by an answer which they did not 
deem satisfactory : they adjourned the debate 
on it till the following day, but then they did 
not think proper to pursue the pointy being 
sensible how strong a feeling prevailed with 
the public respecting the severe usage which 
the episcopal order had recently experienced. 

* See Birchs Life of Tillotaon, p. 330. 
t See the Lfords* Joamah : ajso £velyn*s Diary, M»rch 29, 


On the 1 1 th of April, the king and queen were 
crowned, and the ceremony was performed by 
the Bishop of London. Since, under ordinary 
circumstances, the Archbishop of Canterbury 
was the person who ought to administer the 
coronation oath, a particular statute was passed, 
enjoining that it should be administered either 
by the Archbishop of Canterbury, or by the 
Bishop of London, according to the discretion 
of the king ; and he, knowing the probability 
of a refusal from the Archbishop, fixed upon the 
Bishop of London for that purpose.* 

On the day subsequent to this, Mr. Evelyn 
meutioi^s,t in his Diary, that he visited the 
Archbishop at Lambeth, where others were 
present. They discoursed much on the great 
prejudice and disturbance to the state, which 
would ensue, if the new os^ths which were now 

* See Kennett*8 History, iii. 524. Evelyn, in his Diary, 
gives a somewhat different account, by stating that the Arch- 
bishop excused himself from attending at the coronation; which 
expression implies that the offer was made to him. * It should 
be mentioned, that the MS. copy of the coronation service 
prepared for t^iis occ^ision, and ^proved under the sign manual 
of the king and queen, now exists in the king*s possession; and 
in this the person supposed to be officiating is " William Lord 
Archbishop of Canterbury.** 

t Evelyn's Memoirs, v. ii. p. 10. 


in agitation should be extended beyond those 
who entered on new offices, and should be im- 
posed either on persons who held no office, or 
on those who, having been long in office, and 
having therefore sworn fidelity to one govern- 
ment, would probably be scrupulous in binding 
themselves by a similar oath to another. He 
says, that they all knew this to be the case of 
the Archbishop, and of some other persons, 
who were not satisfied with the resolutions of 
the Convention, declaring the throne to be va- 
cant by James's abdication. 

However, it seems quite impossible, that the 
new government, with a just view to its own 
security, could have abstained from requiring 
the oath of allegiance from all who held offices 
under it, civil or ecclesiastical. The act* which 
enjoined the oath to William and Mary to be 
taken by all public functionaries, and annexing 
penalties to the refusal, passed on the 24th of 
April. It allowed greater indulgence to per- 
sons holding ecclesiastical offices than to others ; 
for whereas it required all persons holding civil 
or military appointments, to take the oath be- 
fore the 1st of the ensuing August, under pain 
of immediate deprivation, it enacted that those 
who held ecclesiastical offices should, on their 

* Sec 1 Will. & Mary, Ch. VIII. 


refusal, be suspended only on the Istof August^ 
and should be saved from absolute deprivation, 
if they qualified themselves by taking the oath 
within six months from that time. It allowed 
also to the king* the power of reserving during 
his pleasure to any twelve ecclesiastical per- 
sons refusing the oath whom he should think 
fit, any sum not exceeding one-third part of the 
revenue of their benefices, after their depriva- 

The case of all the prelates, and others, 
who scrupled respecting the new oath, excited 
much commiseration with the greater part of the 
nation. It was peculiarly matter of deep re- 
gret with all, that one so respected for his pub- 
lic and private virtues as Archbishop Sancroft, 
and so endeared to the whole nation by his 
firmness and by his sufferings in a cause which 
was peculiarly their own, should now be in 
danger of being deprived of that station which 
he had filled with so much credit and advan- 
tage to the church and to himself. But, be- 
sides the general character of these prelates, 
the very scruples which they now felt, and 
under which they acted, presented a strong 
additional claim for respect with all considerate 
persons, even amongst those who were most 

* Sec 1 Wm. &MMy, Ch.VIII. 16. 


opposed to the line of conduct which they took. 
So solemn and so sacred is the obligation of an 
oath in the judgment of every reflecting mind, 
that errors committed on the side of a scrupulous 
adherence to it must ever be honoured and re- 
spected by the wise and good. In many cases 
where human conduct is to be judged of, there 
is room for difference of opinion respecting the 
motives which are at work ; and in the gene- 
rality of cases where motives of the highest 
nature are in action, they are mixed with others 
of a less elevated character. But such cannot 
have been the case in the instance of Arch- 
bishop Sancroft, and those who took the part 
which he did: here all personal and worldly 
considerations, even their views and feelings on 
the great questions of the church and state 
which were concerned, tended to sway them in 
a direction opposite to that which they took ; 
and the motive, which overpowered all these 
considerations usually so strong, could only 
be of the highest and the holiest character, 
— a sincere, unmixed, conscientious regard to 
the oath they had taken, a feeling of the sin- 
fulness of violating it, and a firm resolution to 
adhere to it, in spite of the worst worldly con- 
sequences that might befal them. 

As far as relates to Archbishop Sancroft, the 
strong assertions which he made towards the 


close of his life of the conscientious feeling 
under which he acted, must prove most fully, if 
proof could be desired, that this feeling, and no 
other, influenced his conduct. One anecdote* 
is related of him about the time of his first re- 
fusing the oath, tending to the same point. A 
M. Dubordieu, minister of the French church 
in the Savoy, went to take leave of him on his 
going to Piedmont. His grace told him that 
he did not doubt that the foreign Protestants 
would blame his conduct; but he declared that 
before he took that step, he had foreseen every 
thing that could be said, and even the injury 
which the part he took might do to the Pro- 
testant cause; and that he was greatly con- 
cerned, and had fasted and prayed; but that, at 
last, his conscience would not suffer him to act 
otherwise than he had done. The consequences 
to his worldly fortunes of the part which he 
took seem to have afiected his mind very little. 
To a person discoursing with him on this sub- 
ject, he said, with a smile on his countenance, 
" Well, I can live on £50 a year," meaning his 
paternal inheritance.! 

Under this general feeling of regret for the 
circumstances under which the prelates who 

* Birch's Life of Tillotson, p. 163. 
t See Letter from Suffolk^ &c. 


refused the oath were placed, it will naturally 
be supposed that various expedients were pro- 
posed, for the purpose of saving them from 
the penalty of deprivation. Several mem- 
bers* of both houses of parliament took fre- 
quent opportunities of expressing their con- 
cern for them. Amongst other plans, it was 
suggested in the House of Lords, that, instead 
of requiring the prelates and other clergy to 
take the oaths, the king might be empowered 
to tender them at his pleasure; and that only 
on their refusal, after the oaths were tendered, 
the penalty of deprivation should attach. It 
was thought that this power allowed to the 
king would prove an effectual restraint upon 
the clergy, and prevent their engaging in any 
measures hostile to the government; whereas, 
by actual deprivation, or the certain prospect 
of incurring it, they might be driven to main- 
tain an intercourse with the partizans of the 
abdicated monarch, which would cause diffi- 
culty to the government. In opposition to this 
it was urged, that to leave the king to deter- 
mine from what individuals the oath should be 
required, would be to throw upon him a very 
difficult and invidious task ; and that, on ge- 

* See Burnet's Own Times, v. ii. p. 8, 9 : and Life of Kel- 
tlewell, p. 265. 


neral principles of policy, it is unwise and un- 
safe to confide offices in a state to persons who 
acknowledge allegiance to any other than the 
lawful head of the government. It was after- 
wards proposed, that an exception should be 
allowed of twelve of the clergy from whom the 
oaths should not be required without the king s 
express direction. But this proposition also 
was rejected. 

Thus, the determination of the prelates re- 
maining unchanged, the provisions of the act 
were suffered to take effect: Archbishop San- 
croft was suspended* from his office on the 1st 
of August, 1689, and deprived on the 1st of . 
February following, 16|^. There were deprived 
together with him five bishops,-)* Lloyd of Nor- 

* A short time before his suspension and deprivation^ Arch- 
bishop Sancroft gave an imprimatur with his own signature for 
the publication of Bishop Overall*$ Convocation Book 3 and his 
portrait was placed at the beginning, which seems to prove that 
he gave his immediate sanction to the publication. The imprima- 
tur bears date June 24th, 1 689. A writer, supposed to be Bishop 
Burnet, (see a periodical work, called Mercurius Reformatus, 
V. iii. No. 19) says that this was one of the last acts of his au- 
thority, and that his print was placed in the front to help the 
credit and sale of the book ; that he intended the book to sup- 
port his high government and church notions j but that he " for- 
got some passages in it, which make point blank against his 
own party.** 

t Of these deprived bishops, three lived some way into the 


wich. Turner of Ely, Frampton of Gloucester/ 
White of Peterborough, and Kenn* of Bath and 
Wells; and about four hundredf of the clergy 
of different degrees, in the two universities^ and 
in the several dioceses of the kingdom. 

Under all the circumstances of the case, it 
seems impossible that the government of that 
day could have adopted with discretion any 
other course. Had Archbishop Sancroft stood 
single in the question, there can be little 
doubt that, from the general respect borne to- 
wards him by all ranks of people, and the per- 
sonal goodwill of the king, some method would 
have been devised of suffering him to preserve 
during the probably short remains of his life* 
if not the jurisdiction, at least the exterior 
rank and emolument attached to the arch- 
succeeding century. Bishop Lloyd died in January, '^f^« 
Bishop Kenn in 1710, and Bishop Frampton in 1718. Hie two 
remaining died earlier ; Bishop White in 1 698, and Bishop 
Turner in 1700. 

* On the accession of Queen Anne to the crown in 1 702, a 
proposal was made, through the interest of Lord Wejrmouth, for 
the restoration of Bishop Kenn to the see of Bath and Wells. • 
It was proposed that a vacancy should be made, by the transla- 
tion of Bishop Kidder, who then held it, to Carlisle. Bishop 
Kidder gave his consent ; but, when every thing was ready. Dr. 
Kenn refused to accept the see, on taking a new exception to 
the oath of abjuration. — Kcnnett*s MSS. Collect, v. i. p. 935. - 

t See Appendix to Life of Kettlewell, No. VL 


bishopric- Buty as the matter really stood, it 
would have heen very invidious to grant him an 
indulgence wrhich wras denied to others under 
the same circumstances ; while a similar indul- 
gence to all who refused the oaths would have 
introduced much confusion, and would have 
given strength and influence to the nonjuring 
party, to a degree which might have proved 
highly inconvenient. 

Still, though the Archbishop was deprived of 
his ecclesiastical authority and jurisdiction, he 
was treated with all the tenderness and for- 
bearance due to his character and situation. 
He was not disturbed in his residence at Lam- 
beth Palace, nor immediately deprived of the 
revenues of the see ; with the view also of fur- 
ther consulting his feelings, possibly too of al- 
lowing him the benefit of an alteration in his 
decision respecting the oath, in case time for 
further reflection should have the effect of pro- 
ducing such a change, the jurisdiction of the 
see was for some time placed in commission, 
and no successor appointed. 

After his suspension, and for some time sub- 
sequent to his deprivation, he maintained at 
Lambeth Palace the same attendance and 
splendour of establishment which he had for- 
merly done ; and during the whole of this pe- 
riod, he constantly received visits from the 

VOL. I. G G 


nobility and others with whom he had before 
lived in habits of intercourse, and was treated 
with marks of respect by persons of every 
rank. It is stated too,* that, as long as he coil- 
tinued here, he sought, by all the means of 
gentleness and meekness, to prevent, if possi-*- 
ble, a schism in the church ; and this induced 
him readily to accept the ministry of his chap^ 
lains, even after they had taken the oath to the 
government, so long as they were willing to 
communicate with him, and to officiate accord-^ 
ing to their usual custom. 

In the course of the year 1690, the great 
struggle of the abdicated king for the reco- 
very of his crown took place, which con- 
cluded with the battle of the Boyne; and vari- 
ous schemes and arts were devised by the 
Jacobite party in England for assisting hid 
cause. Amongst other contrivances of that 
party was the following. A day of solemn hu* 
miliation being appointed by the government, 
and a form of public prayer prepared for the 
occasion, the Jacobites also prepared a form of 
prayer in favour of King James, and distri- 
buted many thousand copies of it through the 
kingdom. Archbishop Sancroft and the non- 
juring bishops were immediately suspected of 

^ Life of Kettlewdl, p. 40B. 


being concerned in^ this transaction; but, as 
there was never produced the slightest ground 
fpr the suspicion, it is impossible to believe for 
a moment that, whatever their private feelings 
may have been, they would have had recourse 
to such an improper expedient. Some persons 
however even proceeded so far as to conjecture 
that they discovered in the Jacobite prayers the 
same hand which had been employed in com- 
posing the public occasional prayers under the 
authority of King James at the time of the 
Prince of Orange's invasion ; meaning, no doubt, 
the hand of the Archbishop himself. In addi* 
tion to this, at this period of political ferment, 
the deprived bishops were publicly charged, in 
various pamphlets of the day, with being the 
authors and abettors of England's miseries: 
Ivith contriving and carrying on, especially in 
the meetings at Lambeth Palace, the ruin of 
their country ; with maintaining a communica- 
tion with France, for the purpose of inviting i^ 
foreign invasion, and thereby endeavouring to 
subvert the Protestant church. In one parti- 
cular work, entitled, " A Modest Enquiry into 
the Causes of the present Disasters," besides 
many other heavy accusations, the circulation 
of the Jacobite prayers was directly charged 
upon the nonjuring bishops, as a synodical 

G G 2 


For some time, the Archbishop and his 
brethren deemed it best to treat these csdum* 
nies with the contempt they deserved ; but, at 
last, when they found their characters traduced 
in the grossest manner, and when they felt that, 
as at a time of public alarm and confusion, even 
their persons were exposed to some danger from 
the passions of the multitude inflamed by these 
falsehoods, they thought that it no longer be- 
came them to remain silent. Accordingly, they 
drew up and published a regular protestation of 
their innocence. It was entitled ** A Vindica- 
cation of the Archbishop and several other 
Bishops from the Imputations and Calumnies 
cast upon them by the Author of the Modest 
Enquiry," and was expressed as follows.* 

" Whereas, in a late pamphlet, entitled, ' A 
Modest Enquiry into the Causes of the present 
Disasters, &c.' we, whose names are hereunto 
subscribed, are among others represented as 
the authors and abettors of England's miseries ; 
and, under the abusive names of the Lambeth 
Holy Club, the Holy Jacobite Club, and the 
(Economick Council of the whole Party, are 
charged with a third plot, and with the com- 
posing of a new liturgy and using it in our 

* Life of Kettlewell, p. 260. 


cabals ; and whereas the clergy, such of them 
as are styled malcontents, are said (together 
with others) to have presented a memorial to 
the King of France, to persuade him to invade 
England ; and are also affirmed to have kept a 
constant correspondence with M. de Croissy in 
order thereunto : 

" We do here solemnly, as in the presence 
of God, protest and declare, 

" I. That these accusations cast upon us are 
all of them malicious calumnies, and diabolical 
inventions ; that we are innocent of them all ; 
and we defy the libeller, whoever he be, to pro- 
duce, if he can, any legal proof of our guiltiness 

"11. That we know not who was the author 
of the new liturgy, as the libel calls it ; that 
we had no hand in it, either in the club, cabal, 
or otherwise ; nor was it composed or published 
by our order, consent, or privity ; nor hath it 
been used at any time by us or any of us. 

" III. That neither we, nor any of us, ever 
held any correspondence, directly or indirectly, 
with M. de Croissy, or with any minister or 
agent of France : and, if any such memorial, as 
the libel mentions, was ever really presented to 
the French king, we never knew any thing of 
it, nor any thing relating thereto. And we do 
utterly renounce both that, and all other ijivi- 




tations suggested to be nrnde by us, ki order to 
any invasion of this kingdom by the French. 

** IV. That we utterly deny and disavow all 
plots charged upon us, or contrived, or carried 
on> in our meetings at Lambeth; the intent 
thereof being to advise how, in our present 
difficulties, we might best keep consciences void 
of offence towards God and towards men. 

" V. That we are so far from being the au- 
thors or abettors of England's miseries, (what- 
ever the spirit of lying and calumny may vent 
against us,) that we do, and shall to our dying 
hour, heartily and incessantly pray for thfe 
peace, prosperity and glory of England; and 
shall always, by God's grace, make it our daily 
practice to study to be quiet, to bear our cross 
patiently, and to seek the good of our native 

" Who the author of this libel is, we know 
not : but, whoever he is, we desire, as our Lord 
hath taught us, to return him good for evil : He 
barbarously endeavours to raise in the whole 
English nation such a fury, as may end in Z)e- 
witting us (a bloody word, but too well under- 
stood). But we recommend him to the Divine 
mercy, humbly beseeching God to forgive him. 

" We have all of us, not long since, either ac- 
tually, or in full preparation of mind, hazarded 
all we had in the world in opposing Popery and 


arbitrary power in l^gland : and we shall^ by 
God's grace, with greater zeal again sacrifice aU 
we have, and our very lives too, if God shal} 
be plea^d to call us thereto, to prevent Popery, 
and the arbitrary power of France, from coming 
upon us, and prevailing over us ; the persecu*- 
tion of our Protestant brethren there being stiU 
fresh in our memories. 

** It is our great unhappiness that we have 
pot opportunity to publish full and particular 
answers to those many libels, which are indi49r 
jtriously spread against us. But we hope that 
our country will never be moved to hate us 
without a cause, but will be so just and cha- 
ritable to us, as to believe this solemn protestar 
tion of our innocency. 

(Signed) " W. Cant. 

" W. Norwich, 
" Printed in the " Fr. Ely, 

year 1690. " Thq. Bath & Welj.s, 

" Tho. Petribueoh/* 


It must be needless to say that, after this 
strong protestation of their innocence as to the 
charges here referred to, there cannot remain 
the slightest suspicion that any of them de^ 
served the imputations which appear to have 
been so industriously cast upon them. 

After the defeat of the attempt to restore the 

6 G 4 



abdicated king in 1690, when the government 
of King William was fixed on a finner footing, 
another overture* was made to the Archbishop 
and his brethren, who, though at this time de- 
prived of their jurisdiction, were in possession 
of the temporalities of their sees, in order to 
try whether any method could be devisied of 
preventing their final ejection, — ^a circumstance 
which strongly evinces the good will borne to- 
wards them by the governing powers. Bishop 
Burnet states, that the queen directed him to 
convey a message to the Earl of Rochester and 
Sir John Trevor, who were known to be on 
terms of confidence with the prelates, to try 
whether, in case an act of parliament could be 
obtained, excusing them from taking the oaths, 
they would be willing to perform their func- 
tions as formerly in ordinations, institutions, 
and confirmations, and to assist at public wor- 

* Bishop Burnet, in his pamphlet before referred to, entitled 
''Heflexions/* &c. p. 102. says, that this overture was made to 
the bishops in the summer of 1690, after the battle of the 
Boyne. In his *' Own Times,** he speaks of a transaction, ma- 
nifestly the same, as occurring in the December of the same 
year. It may be mentioned, as a proof of Burnetts extreme 
readiness to insinuate blame against the nonjuring bishops, that 
he finds fault with them for neglecting the concerns of their 
churches subsequently to their deprivation. Had he recollected 
that, after their deprivation, they had no power to exercise any 
episcopal functions, he woidd surely have refrained from making 
this remark. — See Burnet's Own Times, v. ii. p. 71. 


ship. Burnet states that no answer could be 
obtained to this proposal, and that all they 
were willing to promise, was that they would 
live quietly; which he malignantly interprets 
to mean, that they would keep themselves close 
till a proper time should encourage them to act 
more openly. 

As we only know of this negotiation from the 
partial authority of Bishop Burnet, we cannot 
ascertain on what ground it was really frus- 
trated. It should be observed, however, that 
even if the oath of allegiance to King William 
had been dispensed with, the fact of their being 
required to assist at public worship, would have 
probably proved a bar to their acceptance of 
the terms. For the public offices of the church 
referred to William and Mary as the lawful 
sovereigns of the realm ; and it does not seem 
possible that those who acknowledged another 
as their lawful sovereign, could have consented 
to assist in performing these offices. 

Indeed, it is certain that, in reference to the 
latter subject, the Archbishop's feelings were so 
strong, that he deemed it unlawful even to at- 
tend at the public service, when prayer was of- 
fered up for King William and Queen Mary. On 
one occasion,* some of the nonjurors waited on 

* This is given from an original MS. account^ now in private 



him, requesting to know his opinion as to the 
lawfiilness of those who did not acknowledge 
the new sovereigns attending at the public ser-* 
vice when prayer was offered up for them. Ha 
was cautious at first of giving them an answer : 
but, having ascertained that they were really 
desirous of being satisfied on this point, he tol4 
them, that certainly they ought not to go to the 
public service ; but should get what other op^ 
portunities they could of joining in religious 
worship. On another occasion, several of the 
principal nonjurors having attended the service 
in the chapel at Lambeth Palace, one of theiu 
again asked his opinion as to the point of their 
attending the public service of the church. He 
immediately gave this decisive answer : that, if 
they did, they would need the absolution at tha 
end, as well as at the beginning of the service.^ 

liands, written by one of the nonjurors who waited on Arch- 
bishop Sancroft. 

** It is remarkable that the two Archbishops, Sancroft and 
Tillotson^ opposed as they were on the subject of admowiedgin^ 
the new govermnent, agreed in opinion as to this point. On 
Mr. Nelson's consulting Archbishop Tillotson respecting the 
practice of the nonjurors* attending the public service, he an^ 
swered^ " As to the case you put, I wonder men should be 
divided in opinion about it. I think it plain that no man can 
join in prayers, in which there is any petition, wliidi he is 
verily persuaded is sinful. I cannot endure a trick anywhere, 
much less in rel]gi(HL"-*Birch*8 Life of TiUpt8on> p. 282. 


Still SO great was the general unwillingness 
to carry severe measures into effect against the 
deprived bishops, that further attempts* were 
made in parliament by their friends to procure 
some mitigation of the penalties in their favour. 
It was urged that some explanation of the de- 
priving act might be contrived, in a manner 
consistent with the honour and the safety of 
the government; that either a dispensation 
might be allowed to those who held bishoprics 
and ecclesiastical benefices to continue in them 
8ome time longer, subject to their peaceable de- 
meanour towards the government; or else that, 
in the event of their being deprived, a certain 
portion of the revenues might be continued to 
them. Nothing however was effected; pro^ 
bably on account of the difficulty of separating 
the case of a few individuals firom that of the 
great body of the nonjurors. In re^rd to the 
latter point, that of reserving to the deprived 
bishops a portion of the revenue, there is one 
circumstance which it is not easy to explain^ 
It has been mentioned, that the statute, which 
enacted the penalties of suspension and depriva^ 
tion, allowed the king the power of continuing 
to any twelve ecclesiastical persons one-third of 
the revenue of their benefices. We perceive 

* Life of KettleweU, p. 279. 


no trace of his having ever availed himself of 
this power, towards any of the prelates^ al- 
though the reluctance which he showed to 
supersede them might lead us to suppose that 
he would most gladly have made use of it. 

Archbishop Sancroft continued to maintain 
the hospitalities of Lambeth Palace till August, 
1690, about six months after he had been de- 
prived of the archiepiscopal authority. At that 
time he dismissed many of his attendants, and 
contracted his scale of expenditure. The full 
emoluments of the see appear to have been 
continued to him till Michaelmas in this year. 
Still the king suffered some time to elapse be- 
fore he filled up this and the other sees. It 
appears that he destined Dr. Tillotson for the 
primacy almost as soon as the vacancy was 
foreseen by Archbishop Bancroft's refusal to 
take the oaths. Dr. Tillotson, in a letter, dated 
April 19th, 1689,* mentions that the king had 
intimated to him his intention of appointing 
him to the situation, and expresses great per- 
plexity of mind, in consequence of this intima- 
tion. In another letter, written in September 
in the same year, he says, that the king again 
pressed the subject upon him with great ear- 
nestness of persuasion; and he expresses the 

* Birch'8 Life of Tillotson, p. 223. 


hope that something might occur to prevent 
the appointment. In this state the matter re- 
mained for more than a year; the king being 
probably unwilling to disturb Archbishop San- 
croft, and the friends of that prelate being in 
hopes that some expedient might be devised, 
by which his final expulsion might be ' pre- 
vented. At last, in October, 1690,* the king 
again pressed the situation upon Dr. Tillotson, 
and told him that, if he refused, he knew not 
what he should do. Dr. Tillotson now con- 
sented to accept it; but begged, at the same 
time, that the nomination might for some time 
be kept a secret; he also particularly requested 
that he might not be represented to the world 
as driving out the present Archbishop, and that 
his Majesty would declare in council that, since 
his forbearance had produced no good effects, 
he would fill up the vacant situations. Still, 
nothing was done till the return of the king 
from Flanders in 1691. Bishop Burnet states,! 
that it was in consequence of correspondences 
being discovered between the abdicated king 
and the nonjurors, in which some of the de- 
prived bishopsj were concerned, that he at last 

* See Birch*8 Life of Tillotson, p. 247. 
t See Burnet's '' Reflexions, &c." p. 102. 
{ Dr. Turner, the deprived Bishop of Ely, was the person 
principally suspected, and probably with ^reat reason, of holding 


resolved to fill the vacant sees. As soon as Dr- 
Tillotson's appointment was declared, he waited 
on Archbishop Sancroft* at Lambeth Palace, 
and endeavoured to see him by sending his 
name several times by a servant, and waiting 
for an answer. At last, he was obliged to come 
away without succeeding in his purpose. Dn 
Tillotson's public nomination to the primacy- 
took place April 23d, 1691; his cong6 d'elire 
passed May 1st, and he was confirmed May 


Still Archbishop Sancroft kept possession of 
Lambeth Palace, and evinced no disposition 
immediately to quit it. One of his friends, Mr. 
Evelyn, mentions;}: that he paid him a visit there 
more than a fortnight after the appointment of 

correspondence with the abdicated king at this time. It is said 
tbat^ among Lord Preston*s Papers were found letters written by 
him to King James and his queen. On this discovery he fled, 
and a proclamation for his apprehension, as also for that of two 
other persons, was issued February 5th, 169f. Bishop Turner 
survived the Revolution about ten years. — Sec Kennett's MSS. 
Collect. V. i. 935. 

* See Wharton's MSS. Collectanea on Tillotsoa, in Lambeth 

t Mr. Wharton, in MSS. Collectanea, states, that Archbishop 
Tillotson received the profits of the see from Michaelipas^ 1 690 ; 
and that the arrears at the time of his appointment amounted to 

t See Evelyn's Diary, v. ii. p. 25. 


his successor, May 7th, and that he found the 
house mdeed disfumished, and the books packmg 
up; but, on his asking his grace when he re^ 
moved, he answered he had not yet received 
any summons. He found him, he says, alone, 
and discoursing of the times, especially of the 
new designed bishops : he told him, that they 
could not justify by any canon or divine law 
the removing of the present incumbents. One 
of the intended bishops. Dr. Beveridge, designed 
for the see of Bath and Wells, his Grace said, 
had been with him to ask his advice. He told 
him that though he should give the advice, he 
believed he would not follow it. The Doctor 
&aid he would. " Why then," replied the Arch- 
bishop, *' when they come to ask, say nolo, 
and say it from the heart : nothing is easier than 
to resolve yourself what is to be done in the 
case/' " The Doctor," the Archbishop added, 
" seemed to deliberate on this advice."* 

* Dr. Beveridge^ then Archdeacon of Colchester^ and Canon 
of Canterbury, was nominated April 23d^ 1691, to the bishopric 
of Bath and Welts. He took three weeks to consider of it, 
during which time. Bishop Kenn, though deprived, exercised all 
the episcopal functions, preaching and confirming in all parts of 
the diocese. See Kennett*s MSS. Collections, t. i. 935. Mr. 
Wharton says (see Wharton s Collectan. under Kenn) that at one 
time he absolutely declined it ; and that the whole delay caused 
much displeasure at court. 


Hitherto, since his suspension and depriva- 
tion, he had been regularly attended by his 
chaplains, Mr. Needham and Mr. Wharton. 
Upon the first sacrament which was admi- 
nistered in his chapel after his see was filled^ 
the consecration of the elements was performed 
by his grace himself; one nonjuror reading the 
prayers, and another preaching before him, 
when his chaplains being present, though they 
did not oflSciate, did however communicate. 
Soon after, being aware that he must soon re- 
tire from the palace, he thought it just to them 
to retain their services no longer. Accordingly, 
one day,* calling them into his chamber, he 
thanked them for their faithful services, and told 
them that he now thought the time was come 
when they must part. Upon this Mr. Need- 
ham replied, that he was sincerely glad , if 
their services had been acceptable to his Grace ; 
and, if there were not too much presumption in 
the question, he begged his Grace would inform 
them why he thought that a proper time for 
them to part. The Archbishop answered, that 
as affairs then stood, it might carry an invidious 
appearance, and might be dangerous for them, 
that they should serve him any longer. To this 
Mr, Needham made answer, that, though he 
differed from his Grace in opinion concerning 

* See Wharton's MSS. 


public matters in the state, yet as to personal 
duties in attending his Grace, he feared no 
dangers that might happen to him at any time 
or place ; and he believed his brother Wharton 
was of the same opinion. On Mr. Wharton 
agreeing to this, the venerable Archbishop, with 
vivacity in his looks, replied, " Will you so ? 
then go on in Grod's name." 

This anecdote is highly creditable to the 
feelings of both parties concerned. His chap- 
lains not only remained with him till he quitted 
Lambeth, but showed the warmest attachment 
to him, and paid him every attention, till .the 
hour of his death. 

At last, on the 20th of May, the Archbishop 
received an order from the queen to quit the 
palace within ten days. It is stated by Mr. 
Wharton,* that he took great offence at this 
peremptory order, and, in consequence of what 
he deemed unkind treatment, determined not 
to stir till he was forced by law. It is added, 
on the same authority, that, up to this period, 
he had intended to leave his books to the library 
at Lambeth Palace, and with this view had 
placed them there: but, immediately on re- 
ceiving this order, he changed his intention, 
and determined to take them away. 

* Wharton's Collectanea. 
VOL. I. H H 


From the present conduct of this venerable 
prelate, we certainly cannot acquit him of some 
temporary fractiousness of temper ; for which, 
however, at his advanced period of life, and 
under the pressure of chagrin and disappoint- 
ment at seeing affairs proceed in a course which 
he so much disapproved, great allowance is to 
be made. Probably, every impartial person 
will think that as much tenderness had been 
shown to him, and to the other prelates, as 
could reasonably be expected, in the indulgence 
which had been allowed to them of ample time 
to re-cousider their determination, and in the 
permission to retain, so long after their depriva- 
tion, possession of the episcopal residences. It 
may be conjectured, although it cannot be 
proved from any thing which he has left, that 
the Archbishop had privately cherished the ex- 
pectation, till the actual appointment of a suc- 
cessor, that, although he was deprived of the 
archiepiscopal authority, matters would not be 
carried to the extremity of forcing him to quit 
the see ; and, therefore, when the successor was 
actually appointed, and the appointment was 
followed by an order to retire from the resi^ 
dence, a feeling of disappointment, and a notion 
that he was harshly treated, got, for the time, 
possession of his mind, and disturbed its usual 
serenity. It must be superfluous to say, that no 


rational motive can be assigned for his deter- 
mining to be turned out of the palace by legal 
process, the evil of which must only fall upon 
himself; or for his depriving the see of the ad- 
vantage of possessing his library, on account of 
the ill usage which he conceived he had per- 
sonally experienced from the government. 

The process of ejectment by law was begun 
without delay. He was cited to appear before 
the Barons of the Exchequer, on the first day 
of Trinity Term, June 12th, to answer a writ of 
intrusion brought against him in the king's 
name by the Attorney General, in which he 
was accused of having entei:ed vi et amiis into 
Lambeth House, (part of the king s possessions 
in the vacancy of the see,) on the 1st of April, 
1690, and forcibly taken and held possession of 
it. He appeared by his attorney several times, 
but always cautiously avoided putting in any 
plea, in which the name of the king or queen 
was mentioned, or their title acknowledged. 
On Tuesday, June 23d, the Attorney General 
moved for judgment: the Archbishop's counsel 
pleaded that, according to the rules of the court, 
imparlance ought to be allowed till next term ; 
the judges overruled the plea, and ordered 
judgment to pass, unless the counsel for the 
defendant consented to join issue on the same 

H h2 


day. This they refused to do, and, in conse- 
quence, judgment passed. 

On the evening of the same day, between 
|even and eight o'clock, the Archbishop retired 
from Lambeth Palace in the most private man- 
ner ; attended by the steward of his household, 
(who was his nephew, Mr. Bancroft,) Dr. 
Paman, Mr. NichoUs and Mr. Jacob. He did 
not even send for his chaplains previous to his 
departure, or give them the slightest intimation 
of his intention. He took boat at Lambeth 
bridge (or ferry), and went to a private house 
in Palsgrave Court, in the Temple. On the fol- 
lowing day, the servants of his establishment 
were dismissed by the steward with much 
kindness, their wages being paid in advance 
till the following Michaelmas. A donation of 
alms was made to the poor of the parish, and 
a present sent to the curate. On the following 
Saturday, the Attorney General sent a mes- 
senger to take possession of the house : but the 
steward refused possession, alleging his orders 
to deliver it to none but the legal oflScer. The 
messenger returned in about an hour with the 
under sheriff, and possession was then delivered 
with great civility; but the person of the steward 
was attached, and he was carried to the Mar- 
shalsea prison, although bail to the amount of 
£10,000 was offered for his liberty : in addition 


to which, a fine of £200 was imposed upon him. 
It is stated that he was kept there with the 
design of inducing the Archbishop to jnrite t» 
the other deprived bishops, to persuade tbei^ 
to give up quiet possession of their episcopsA 
houses ; but this, Mr. Wharton adds, the Arch«- 
bishop scorned to do. After ten day's confine- 
ment, the steward was released, upon bail of 
£100. Soon afterwards. Archbishop Tillotson 
sent him a message, to tell him that he need 
not be troubled about the fine, for care should 
be taken that it should not be demanded. To 
this Mr. Sancroft replied, that it must be paid^ 
for his uncle the Archbishop had so ordered it.* 
The next morning, the chaplains of the de- 
prived Archbishop, Mr. Needham and Mr« 
Wharton, having discovered the place of his 
retreat, came to wait on him. He received 
them with extraordinary kindness, and caused 
them to celebrate divine service before him ac- 
cording to the offices of the day. They con- 
tinued to officiate there daily for some time, 
Mr. Needham going constantly to read prayers 
every morning at seven o'clock ; till, company 
and business breaking frequently in upon him, 
he told him, that his time not being his own, 
he must be content to read prayers /or himself. 

* See Lamb. M8S. v. 933. Art. 73. 


The Archbishop remained at the house in the 
Temple for about six weeks, and appears to 
have received there the visits of his friends in 
all ranks of life. Amongst others, Thomas, Earl 
of Aylesbury, called to pay him a visit. The 
prelate received him at the door of his apart- 
ment, which was opened by himself. The 
Earl, struck with this circumstance as a mark 
of humiliation, and with the total change of 
every thing around, from what he had formerly 
seen in his visits at Lambeth Palace, burst into 
tears. As soon as he recovered his power of 
speech, he told him how deeply he was affected 
with what he saw, and how unable he was to 
suppress his grief. " O my good lord," replied 
the Archbishop, " rather rejoice with me, for 
now I live again." 

This pleasing anecdote shows that, if his 
mind had before been in some degree ruffled 
and disturbed, it had now perfectly recovered 
its serene and even tone. 

The Archbishop left finally the metropolis on 
the 3d of August, 1691, and on the 5th arrived 
at Fresingfield, his native place, which he never 
afterwards left. 


LoodoQ t PrintAd by C RovmUi, 
Bell-yard, T— pl»h»i. 


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3 2044 020 643 268 

119 4 

D'OYLY, George 

• 789 


The life of William