A History of the Nonjurors/Chapter 2

A History of the Nonjurors - ornament 3.png
 

CHAPTER II.

 
The Oath of Allegiance.—Arguments respecting it.—Death of Bishop Lake.—His Confession.—Death of Bishop Thomas.—Various Views of the Oath.—Kettlewell.—Difficulties of the Case.—Latitudinarian Principles of the Time.—Sancroft's Commission.—Form of Prayer for King William.—A new Liturgy.—The Bishops clear themselves.—Plans suggested for preventing the Schism.—Some comply after the Battle of the Boyne.—Burnet's Influence.—His Conduct examined.—Sancroft.—Trial of Lord Preston and Mr. Ashton.—Charge against Bishop Turner.—Prayers.
 

The crown having been settled on William and Mary, it became necessary to adopt measures to secure the stability of the government: and the most important question related to the Oath of Allegiance. In its original state it presented very serious difficulties, inasmuch as it so strongly implied the doctrine of hereditary right. It was therefore altered into the following simple form: "I, A B, do sincerely promise and swear to bear true allegiance to their Majesties King William and Queen Mary." The oath of supremacy consisted of two parts: the one an oath of abhorrence of the Pope's excommunicating power: the other a declaration, that no foreign prince or power had, or ought to have, any jurisdiction in this kingdom.

I need not dwell upon the various particulars connected with the conversion of the Convention into a Parliament. It is sufficient for my purpose to state, that the new Oath was taken by the two Houses in March 1688-9, with the exception of some, who entertained scruples on the subject. The Oath was taken by the Archbishop of York, and by the Bishops of London, Lincoln, Bristol, Winchester, Rochester, Llandaff, and St. Asaph's: and subsequently, by the Bishops of Carlisle and St. David's: it was refused by Sancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells, Turner, Bishop of Ely, Frampton, Bishop of Gloucester, Lloyd, Bishop of Norwich, White, Bishop of Peterborough, Thomas, Bishop of Worcester, Lake, Bishop of Chichester, and Cartwright, Bishop of Chester. Thomas, Lake, and Cartwright died during the year, and thus six Prelates were left, who refused to swear allegiance to the new Sovereigns. The Act of Parliament required all Ecclesiastical persons to take the Oath before the first of August 1689, under pain of suspension from the performance of their duties: but six months were allowed, after suspension, before deprivation: so that those who did not comply before the first day of February, 1689-90, would be deprived of their ecclesiastical preferments.

There doubtless would have been difficulties if the Oath had not been enforced: but as no such step would have been required under a Regency, it may fairly be questioned, whether it would not have been better policy not to have imposed the Oath, except in the case of persons actually appointed under the new Sovereigns. In this case, the parties already in possession would have been left unmolested. Such leniency would not have been abused. One argument only, as it appears to me, could be urged with any force in favour of the universal imposition of the new Oath, namely, that to have dispensed with it might have indicated weakness and fear on the part of the government. Still the dangers, arising from such a course, would have been more than counterbalanced, by the good feeling, which would have been produced in the minds of those, who refused to take the Oath. It would have been well to have prevented the deprivation of so many Bishops and Clergy, at almost any sacrifice.

Many who took the Oath were in a most uncomfortable state of doubt and uncertainty. The question to decide was one of great difficulty: could the men who had sworn allegiance to King James transfer that allegiance to William and Mary? It may appear an unimportant question in the present day: but at that time it presented difficulties of no ordinary magnitude to the minds of all conscientious men. The following extract from a letter written by Nicolson, subsequently Bishop of Carlisle, dated 15th of May, 1689, will shew that even many of those, who eventually complied, were in the greatest embarrassment. "We have now a Prince and Princess seated on the throne, in whom we are ready enough to acknowledge all the accomplishments that we can wish for in our governors, provided their title to the present possession of the crown were unquestionable: and, therefore, methinks we should rather greedily catch at any appearance of proof that may justify their pretensions, than dwell upon such arguments as seemingly overturn them."[1] He proceeds to enumerate the arguments which appeared to him to be satisfactory: yet it is clear, that he had considerable scruples on the subject. At a later period, indeed, when Bishop of Carlisle, he expresses himself satisfied on the following ground. "Whenever a Sovereign De Facto is universally submitted to, and recognized by all the three estates, I must believe that person to be lawful and rightful monarch of this kingdom: who alone has a just title to my allegiance, and to whom only I owe an oath of fealty."[2]

This argument undoubtedly satisfied numbers, who took the Oath, and who did not feel themselves called upon to consider the abstract right. But it did not meet the case of those, who were then in possession of benefices, who had taken the Oath to King James, and could not transfer their allegiance to another. They were ready to conduct themselves as peaceable citizens, though they could not promise to do so under an oath, which renounced King James to whom they had sworn allegiance. While, therefore, credit is given for sincerity to those Bishops and Clergy, who complied, charity constrains us to make the same concession in favour of those, who refused. It was one thing to yield obedience to the new Sovereign, it was another to transfer their allegiance by an oath.

But of all persons the Dissenters are the last who can, with any show of reason, traduce the Nonjurors with inconsistency: since they themselves, as has been shewn in the previous chapter, contributed towards the introduction of Popery, by a ready compliance with King James. While they supported the King in his designs against the religion and liberties of the country, the Bishops and Clergy of the Anglican Church, among whom were all the Nonjurors, interposed to prevent those evils, which otherwise would have been unavoidable.

The period between the passing of the Act, requiring all Ecclesiastical persons to take the Oath, and the time fixed for the deprivation of those who should not comply, was a very anxious one, not only to those who subsequently refused to submit, but also to many who submitted. Sancroft and the Bishops absented themselves from the House of Lords: and no feeling bordering on compliance appears to have been entertained by them. They conducted themselves quietly, discharging the duties of their station. On the day on which William and Mary were proclaimed, Henry Wharton officiated in the Archbishop's chapel and prayed for the new Sovereigns. The Archbishop was offended, and requested that no change might be made. Wharton states, that Sancroft derived his views from the Bishops of Norwich, Chichester, and Ely. However, he retained his Chaplains at Lambeth, though they gave in their adhesion to the new government.[3]

Lake, Bishop of Chichester, died in the interval, between the passing of the Act and the day fixed for taking the Oath. Soon after his death an account of his last moments was published by Dr. Jenkin. "His Lordship," says the writer, "was one of the seven Bishops, who by their Christian courage and patience disarmed the rage of our Popish adversaries, in the height of their pride and triumph. Nothing greater can be said, than that he was of their number, and that after he had prevented the sending down the declarations into his own diocese, he came in great haste to London, and joined himself to the rest of My Lords the Bishops, and had his share in the whole management of an affair, as honourable, perhaps, as any thing that has been done in any age."[4]

This estimable man was one of the seven Prelates, who had incurred the wrath of King James, by venturing to refuse to read his Majesty's Declaration. The writer of the account remarks, "He had afterwards a very worthy part in those applications the Bishops made to his Majesty a little before the Revolution, when they interposed themselves as it were between the King and his people."[5] The writer expresses his wonder at the anger evinced by some persons towards the Bishop, for not taking the Oath, as if his zeal for the Church had become cold. "He considered that the day of death and of judgment, are as certain as the 1st of August and the 1st of February, and acted accordingly."[6] It will be remembered that these days were fixed by the Act: the former for suspension, the latter for deprivation in all cases, in which the Oath should not be taken. On the 27th of August he dictated the following profession, being then very ill:

"Being called by a sick and I think a dying bed, and the good hand of God upon me in it, to take the last and best viaticum, the sacrament of my dear Lord's body and blood, I take myself obliged to make this short recognition and profession.

"That whereas I was baptized into the religion of the Church of England, and sucked it in with my milk, I have constantly adhered to it through the whole course of my life, and now, if so be the will of God, shall dye in it: and I had resolved through God's grace assisting me to have dyed so, though at a stake.

"And whereas that religion of the Church of England taught me the doctrine of nonresistance and passive obedience, which 'I have accordingly inculcated upon others, and which I took to be the distinguishing character of the Church of England, I adhere no less firmly and steadfastly to that, and in consequence of it, have incurred a suspension from the exercise of my office and expected a deprivation. I find in so doing much inward satisfaction, and if the Oath had been tendered at the peril of my life, I could only have obeyed by suffering.

"I desire you my worthy friends and brethren, to bear witness of this upon occasion, and to believe it, as the words of a dying man, and who is now engaged in the most sacred and solemn act of conversing with God in this world, and may, for ought he knows to the contrary, appear with these very words in his mouth at the dreadful tribunal: "Manu propria Subscripsi,"

Johannes Cicestrensis."[7]

 

The writer afterwards remarks, "I shall not doubt to say, that those who cannot take the Oath, yet wish better to their Majesties than these their violent adversaries, and in the end will prove better subjects. Their Majesties are the two persons in the world, whose reign over them, their interest and inclination oblige them most to desire, and nothing but conscience could restrain them from being as forward as any in all expressions of loyalty."[8]

This was undoubtedly the case with many of the Nonjurors. Their feelings were towards King William: but conscience did not permit them to take the Oath, because they considered themselves bound to King James. How desirable, that such men should have been permitted to remain in their posts without taking the Oath!

When this account was published, the Bishop of Worcester was also deceased. In allusion to this circumstance the Author of the Defence remarks: "These two good Bishops spent their dying breath in recommending the doctrines of peace." In a postscript the writer thus alludes to the Bishop of Worcester's last moments: "His Lordship sent for a reverend divine, and after an hour's discourse concerning the new Oath, and giving his reasons why he could not take it, and expressing a great concern for the clergy who were of another opinion, and particularly for those of his own Diocese, he concluded with these words, If my heart do not deceive me, and God's grace do not fail me, I think I could suffer at a stake rather than take this Oath."[9]

This profession was made only three days before his death. Strange that men should have been so severely attacked for refusing to take the Oath! The writer of the Defence therefore remarks with great truth: "It is very observable, that the only two Bishops, who have dyed since the refusal of the Oath, have declared, when they had now done with this world, and had no other expectations but of death and judgment, they refused it only upon a principle of conscience, and all who have any charity or conscience themselves, or the least respect for the Church of England, must give great regard to the dying words of two such Bishops, in whom their worst enemies can find nothing to blame, but that which shall be their eternal honour, that all the temptations and inducements, which probably can happen in any case, could never prevail with them to take an oath against their consciences."[10]

Thus the Bishop of Worcester made a Declaration, in his last moments, to the same effect as Lake's. It was taken by Hickes, then Dean of Worcester. It appears that the Bishop and the Dean stood almost alone in their refusal in that Diocese.[11]

Other opportunities will offer for pointing out the unreasonableness of the charge of Popery, so readily alleged against the Nonjurors: but I cannot refrain from remarking in this place, that the presumptions of insincerity were stronger in the case of those who complied, than in the case of those who refused to take the Oath: because it is always much easier to go with the stream than to run counter to it. Had the Bishops and Clergy consulted their worldly interests, they would have taken the Oath: while in refusing it they sacrificed all temporal advantages.

The old Oath of Allegiance bound the subject to the sovereign, as rightful and lawful King. It was argued, that these words implied a precedent title, which could not apply to William, who had no other title than the voice of the people expressed in the Convention. The words were, therefore, omitted in the new Oath: and it appears, that some of James's supporters took it, on the alleged ground, that it recognized a distinction between a sovereign De facto and De jure. They imagined, that they might swear allegiance to the Prince in possession, though they considered the right to the throne to be in another.[12] But the Nonjurors scorned to pursue any course which was not direct and open. They were too conscientious to utter one thing with their lips, while they believed the contrary: or to take the Oath with mental reservation.

The views of the various parties, who took the Oath, are well stated in the following extracts: "Now it was observed by him, that in those who qualified themselves for having preferment, by taking the Oath of Allegiance to King William and Queen Mary, the disagreement was most considerable as to the principles on which they proceeded herein. For some took the Oath as lawful, yet did blame the imposition of it as hurtful. Others did esteem the lawfulness of it not as certain, but only as probable; and hence did not condemn the refusers of it. Others again did esteem it in some sense lawful, but again in another sense unlawful. Some of these took it with a declaration, expressing the sense wherein they could take it, and wherein not: others took it without any open declaration, or explicit interpretation: but with an implicit relaxation of the same, or limitation hereof so far as they were not antecedently bound, or as might be consistent with the laws of the realm and the rights both of Prince and people. Some also there were, and those not a few, who being not able to see through the argument, did after some pains taken in examination thereof, remain in suspense: and thence were willing to be guided by an implicit faith, after the judgment of others for whom they did happen to have a particular deference. Lastly, it is more than probable, that there were great numbers, both of the clergy and laity, who without troubling themselves much to consider the weight of the argument on either side, were easily contented to determine themselves by the prevailing opinion both of lawyers and divines, and by the solemn recognition of the Possessor made at and by the Assembly of the Estates."[13]

There is no reason to doubt the correctness of this account; so that we ought to be charitable in forming a judgment of those, who could not take the Oath, when so many of those who complied were actuated by such conflicting motives. Some there were, who refused the Oath, and yet did not hesitate to pray for the new Sovereigns: but in a short time they joined themselves to one or other of the great parties, into which the Church was divided.[14]

Whiston, whose opinions were as far as possible from bigotry, may be regarded as an unexceptionable witness in proof of the difficulties, under which many persons conceived themselves to be placed, in consequence of the Oath. "When I was to go to take orders, I had no mind to apply to a bishop, how excellent soever, who had come into the place of any who were not satisfied with the Oaths to King William and Queen Mary, and so had been deprived for preferring conscience to preferment." He subsequently considered the Oath lawful in the case of those who had not sworn allegiance to King James. He remarks: "The far greatest part of those, that then took the Oaths, seemed to me to take them with a doubtful conscience, if not against its dictates."[15]

It is said, that some took the Oath pleading a permission from King James. "There were many others, who justified themselves, by the leave which they said King James had given them before his going off, to act as there should be occasion, and not to throw themselves out of a capacity of going on with business, and of doing justice, when and where an opportunity should present itself. These methods were not at all pleasing to the plain temper of Mr. Kettlewell, who thought they had too much in them of the prudence of this world, and expected not that they would ever be blessed of God."[16] Kettlewell also took great pains to satisfy the scruples of many who applied to him on the subject. To those who took the Oath in a lower sense than the words implied, he said: "he believed they would find other hardships put upon them, as fasts and thanksgivings, and that in their practice they would be necessitated to come up to the highest sense, though they renounced it (at present) in their words."[17]

It must be admitted, that latitudinarian notions on the question of the Oath prevailed to a considerable extent among the complying clergy, and even among the bishops. Low views of church discipline, church authority, and of the Episcopal office, were entertained by many persons in high stations. With some it was sufficient to leave all ecclesiastical matters to the wisdom of Parliament. Erastian in theory, they necessarily became loose in practice: and had not the Clergy in general maintained their ground, many radical changes would have been introduced. Not a few of the Clergy suspected the King, in consequence of his presbyterian education, of secretly favouring the Dissenters: yet his Majesty after all proved a better Churchman than some, who had been nurtured in the bosom of the Church. A very large body of the Clergy differed from the Nonjurors only on the subject of the Oath: and it is to the exertions of that body, that the preservation of the Church in her integrity must be ascribed. For a time the shock of the Revolution was felt by the Church, in the introduction, among some of her highest ministers, of latitudinarianism; but providentially in the course of a few years the evil, from which so many sad consequences were apprehended, was greatly mitigated. While there was danger of Popery prior to the Revolution, there was no less danger of latitudinarianism subsequent to that event: so that, while we are thankful to King William for delivering us from the former, we must also be thankful to the Clergy, by whose consistent and determined course the Church was rescued from the latter.[18]

The more the question, which the clergy had to settle at the Revolution, is considered, the more difficult will it appear. I am sure that no Churchman can fully enter into the subject, without being convinced, that the Bishops and Clergy were placed in a most perplexing situation. Instead of reflecting on the memory of the Nonjurors, we ought to be thankful, that we are not exposed to a similar trial.

There is too another subject for gratitude, namely, the preservation of Episcopacy. That the Episcopal succession was in some danger will be admitted by all persons, who are acquainted with the circumstances of the period. Suppose, for instance, that all the Bishops had refused the Oaths. In that case none could have been consecrated to act under the new government: and a Presbyterian establishment might have been set up in England, as well as in Scotland. No doubt there are persons in this country who would prefer Presbytery: but the sound members of the Anglican Church regard Episcopacy as an ordinance of God, and they are thankful that it was not placed in jeopardy at the Revolution.

Just at this time the commission was sitting for the purpose of making, or rather suggesting alterations to be made, by convocation, in the Liturgy. The commissioners agreed upon so many, that had they been adopted, the Liturgy would have been quite a different thing from what it was previously. Happily, in consequence of the strong church feeling which prevailed in the convocation, the proposed changes were never submitted to that assembly. Had the design succeeded, the consequences would have been most fatal to the Church, since the greater part of the Clergy would have refused the Oaths, casting in their lot with the Nonjurors: and thus a precedent would have been set for Church Reformers in every age.

Before his suspension, Archbishop Sancroft granted a commission to three of his suffragans to act in his name: and by them Burnet was consecrated to the Bishopric of Salisbury the 31st of May, 1689. The commission did not in any way recognize the new Sovereigns: but it is argued by Birch, "This was as much Archbishop Sancroft's own act, as if he himself had consecrated the new Bishop, and he authorized others to do what he seemed himself to think unlawful."[19] The following defence appears to me to meet the charge: "There was yet neither deprivation nor suspension; so that the Ecclesiastical unity was not hitherto dissolved betwixt those who were divided about the political state: and thence if a schism could have been prevented by means of this accommodation, with all the fatal consequences which thereupon have since followed, the good Archbishop (howsoever he might be blamed for it by some) thought it not unlawful for him thus far to acquiesce, it being providentially out of his power to act, as otherwise he would."[20] It has been argued that the Archbishop by this act admitted the authority of the government, by which the subsequent deprivations took place: and that consequently, if the authority was competent to nominate to a see, it was also competent to deprive.[21] But it appears to me that the extract from the Life of Kettlewell furnishes a sufficient reply to this objection. The cases were dissimilar: and the fact may be taken as another evidence, that it would have been wise on the part of the government, not to have insisted upon the Oaths, except in new appointments. In that case Sancroft would probably have acted where he could personally, and on occasions on which he entertained scruples, he would have granted a commission, as in the consecration of Burnet.

Into the particulars of King William's proceedings in Ireland it is unnecessary to enter. A day of Fasting and Humiliation was appointed: and as usual a Form of Prayer was issued for the occasion, to be used in all Churches and Chapels for the success of his Majesty. But the opportunity was seized for circulating another Form, in which King James was prayed for in the usual manner. It was published by some of James's followers; but the authorship is not known. Large numbers, however, were distributed. It was called The Jacobite Liturgy, or The New Liturgy. The suspended Bishops were suspected; and some persons of more than ordinary pretensions to wisdom imagined, that they could discover traces of the same hand that had drawn up the Form, which had been publicly used prior to the landing of King William. This latter Form had been prepared by Sancroft: consequently it was intended to insinuate, that the Archbishop was concerned in this New Liturgy. For some time the Bishops were silent, conscious of the utter groundlessness of the charge; but at length, for the satisfaction of others, they deemed it necessary to publish a Vindication. It was signed by Sancroft and four of the Bishops, the Bishop of Gloucester being absent. They however pledged themselves for their absent brother. The New Liturgy bore this title, "A Form of Prayer and Humiliation for God's Blessing upon his Majesty and his Dominions, and for the removing and averting God's judgments from this Church and State."[22] The Bishops were charged with setting it forth by their authority, in opposition to that appointed by the government, and against the Revolution. The Archbishop and Bishops, in their Vindication, solemnly declare that they knew nothing of the Liturgy or the author: that they never held any correspondence with France: that they were concerned in no plots: and that they should make it their practice to study to be quiet, to bear their cross patiently, and to seek the good of their native country. They were charged in certain Pamphlets, consequent upon the publication of this New Liturgy, with Popery, and a wish to introduce arbitrary power. The authors of the Pamphlets, however, must have been most unprincipled men, since those Bishops had been the great instruments in preserving both the religion and liberties of the people. They therefore declare, "We have all of us not long since, either actually or in full preparation of mind, hazarded all we had in the world in opposing Popery and arbitrary power in England: and we shall, by God's grace, with greater zeal again sacrifice all we have and our very lives too, if God shall be pleased to call us thereto, to prevent Popery, and the arbitrary power of France, from coming upon us, and prevailing over us: the persecution of our Protestant brethren there being fresh in our memories."[23]

The Bishops were now freed from the charge of being concerned in the New Liturgy, for no one was rash enough to impute it to them after their solemn denial.

After the Archbishop's suspension, Tillotson, in conjunction with the Chapter of Canterbury, was appointed to exercise Archiepiscopal jurisdiction. So strange was this proceeding considered, that even the Bishop of London had his doubts respecting its legality. On the other hand, Stillingfleet, who generally entertained latitudinarian notions on such subjects, contended that it was perfectly legal. His arguments were submitted at length in a letter to the Bishop of London, who probably was not unwilling to be convinced.[24]

As the day fixed for the deprivation of the Bishops and Clergy, who could not take the Oath, drew near, many persons were anxious to devise means to prevent the schism, which, it was foreseen, would be produced: but nothing appears to have been seriously contemplated by the government. The complying Clergy in general were anxious that the Oath should not be pressed. Efforts were accordingly made to prevent a deprivation. In the Diocese of Norwich a proposal was made, which is thus described by its originator: "At a numerous meeting of the Clergy, I proposed that we should join in a petition to the government, that the rigour of the depriving Act might be mitigated, and our Bishop might be permitted to live and exercise his Episcopal function among us. To this all subscribed very freely, and among the rest, his Grace Dr. Sharp, the late excellent Archbishop of York, though then only Dean of Norwich: but because, if the Oaths were passed by, I supposed the government might justly demand some security for that Bishop's peaceable management in his diocese; therefore I proposed that the whole body of the Clergy there met should offer themselves to become sureties for their Bishop, which, though the rest were most of them afraid to do, that Bishop took my proposal so kindly, that he remembered it to the last, and has often assured me, that had we taken that course, it would have given such satisfaction as would have encouraged those of the other dioceses to have followed the example, and so every one of those holy fathers might have lived and dyed peaceably in their own dioceses: but the sins of an ungrateful nation were too great and too many for us to hope for such a blessing." The originator of this proposal condemned the separation, though he would have prevented it by not imposing the Oath. The blame he places, where it must be placed, upon the State: "Whatever fault was committed here by their being dismissed from Episcopal jurisdictions in their several dioceses, that lay all at the door of the civil government. The Clergy in general mourned for it: several, purely out of conscience, out of true and real conscience, refused to accept of those dignities, which they knew those excellent men were unjustly deprived of, and yet continued quietly in the exercise of their own functions, and in their less envied stations." This is strong testimony from a complying clergyman: and it will appear the stronger from the fact that he condemned the separation in no doubtful terms. He adds on this point: "Supposing those put in their places to have been schismatical usurpers: why should all those reverend Prelates, who submitted to the then government upon such reasons as were satisfactory to themselves, be branded as schismaticks? Must I commence a schismatick only because I differ from some of my brethren in points purely political: though I conform entirely to all the orders of the same Church, worship God by the same liturgy, and acknowledge and assert the same Church government, and that only to be of divine right?"[25]

A petition was also presented from the diocese of Bath and Wells. The petitioners stated, that they should have been happy if the objectors could have taken the Oaths; that, however, they had formerly exposed themselves for the common safety; and that they were ready to stand engaged for their peaceable conduct.[26]

Many persons were anxious for an Act of Parliament to relieve the Bishops from the Oath, provided they would undertake to perform the duties of their office: but the Prelates would make no other promise, than that they would live quietly. Whether the King and the Ministers ever seriously contemplated such a thing, it is not possible to determine: but it is a matter of deep regret, that such a course was not pursued. There might have been some difficulty respecting the public services, as the Bishops, who could not take the Oath, might not have joined in prayer for King William: but a little forbearance on the part of the government would probably have led to a favourable issue. The pledge of the Bishops to live quietly would have been scrupulously observed: and had the Oath been dispensed with, I am inclined to believe, that the question respecting the prayers would have been so managed, that the schism would have been prevented. At all events, the experiment merited a trial. It would have been a gratification to all sound Churchmen to have seen Sancroft, and Ken, and their companions, remaining in possession of their Sees, and exercising their jurisdiction in the Church.

But there were other parties, who hurried on the government to strong and decided measures against the Nonjurors. The Presbyterians in Scotland, and the Dissenters in England, insinuated that William's throne would have been endangered by their plots: though these excellent men never plotted against the government even after deprivation. Assuredly they would not have done so, if lenity and forbearance had been manifested towards them in the difficult position in which they stood with respect to the Oath. It might not have been easy for William to refuse to listen to those who urged him forward; since hesitation on his part would have exposed him to the charge of deserting his most active supporters; but the exercise of forbearance towards men, whose only crime, even in the estimation of their enemies, was their regard for a solemn oath, would have produced the happiest results. It must be a source of thankfulness, that the schism was not more fatal in its consequences. Had there been no dissensions among the Nonjurors themselves in subsequent reigns, the separation would not only have continued longer, but it would have been of a more serious character.

The reflections of some of our historians, on the non-complying Bishops, are very uncharitable. Thus Kennet remarks, "Though they had earnestly desired the Prince's coming, and had the chief of them addressed themselves to him after he was come, to take the administration of affairs: yet, as if they would have him their redeemer without being their protector, they did not care to pay any allegiance to him, nor to renounce their obligations to King James. This example of the Prelates and Clergy had a great influence on many other members of the Church of England; and it was their disaffection that made the King more inclinable to favour the Dissenters, whom he generally looked upon as better affected to his person and title."[27] There was no inconsistency, as Kennet insinuates: for though they wished the Prince to act as a mediator, they did not contemplate the removal of their Sovereign. Sancroft and the Bishops were determined to preserve the Church at all hazards: and in pursuing the course, which their consciences dictated, they hesitated not to go to the Tower. They suffered more in defence of Protestant principles, than those who have so severely reflected on their memory.

After King James had retired from Ireland, leaving King William in quiet possession of the crown, some of the Clergy, who hitherto had hesitated respecting their course, began to consider, whether they might not now submit and take the Oath. "Some there were who could not be brought to transfer their allegiance from him to another, by invocation of God's name: but who now, upon second thoughts, considering the desperate state of his affairs, were willing to be convinced, that both their interest and duty might be made to go together, and that a right of providential possession ought no longer to be disputed by them."[28] This was during the six months of suspension appointed by the Act. It is said, that offers were made to some, to induce compliance, though few only accepted them. "However," says the writer of Kettlewell's Life, "the forces of the Ecclesiastical Nonjurants were sensibly diminished: proportionable strength being added thereby to the Jurant Clergy, if strength consist in number." He adds, "Moreover it was expected by many, that some favour would have been shewn this Session to the ecclesiastics under suspension for declining the Oath, or at least to the more considerable of them: and some assurances are said to have been given to this effect by persons of no mean figure and interest. Mr. Kettlewell was none of those that were too apt to flatter themselves with success of one sort or the other, or to fix much upon any earthly dependencies, or human promises and engagements: but was prepared for the worst, which he expected." It was urged in Parliament, "That the statute had already had its effect in good part, that penal laws touching religion have sometimes been made by our Parliaments more in terrorem than otherwise, and that if in any case there was, there never could be a better plea than this."[29] Still no serious attempt was made by those in authority to prevent the Act from taking effect on the appointed day, the first of February. "If moderation had swayed, the tender consciences of the Bishops, who would not take the Oaths, would never have been an inconvenience to the state. Candour will not blame them. No interest would have been injured, and a disagreeable division would have been prevented."[30]

It was now forgotten, that these very Bishops had been the saviours of the country only a short time before. They had risked every thing in the cause of the Church under King James: and now they must lose all for conscientiously adhering to an oath. It is evident, that they were the uncompromising opponents of Popery, for they had given the fullest evidence on this head: while many who now opposed them had contributed towards its support. Such men, therefore, though they could not take the Oath to the new Sovereigns, would not have disturbed the government. They would have lived quietly and peaceably according to their promise. Their sincerity respecting the Oaths was evinced by their sacrifices: and their zeal for the Church was never disputed, except by men, who cared neither for the Church nor for religion.

The supporters of the government were greatly divided in opinion respecting the principles, on which the title of King William to the crown was founded. Many were content with the Parliamentary vote, considering it all-sufficient; but others endeavoured to seek out more specious reasons for their conduct. They agreed with the Nonjurors in principle, and laboured to shew, that they acted consistently in adhering to King William. Perhaps the following extract gives the best view of the notions entertained by a very large class of William's supporters:—"My principles are the same as they were; my allegiance has descended in the same manner to King William and Queen Mary as it did to Charles II. and James II. not altered in the least degree or reason of it. They were in their times the ministers of God, and the lawful and undoubted Sovereigns of the English nation, and so are these: the same God that set up Charles II. and James II. when so great a part of the nation did what they could to have the first of them abjured, and the second excluded: the same God, I say, has by his providence set King William and Queen Mary on the throne: and by His grace I will bear the same faith and allegiance to them as I did to the former: and for the same cause. For my part I believe our now most gracious Sovereigns, King William and Queen Mary, are both de jure and de facto as lawful King and Queen of England, by hereditary right, which commenced from the time that the late King James left the throne, though it was not declared till the 12th of February following, as ever sat upon the throne."[31]

It has been supposed, that Burnet had no inconsiderable influence in preventing the adoption of moderate measures with the non-complying Clergy. He wished the Oath to be enforced, regardless of consequences. It would have been more consistent as a minister of peace, to have recommended gentle and healing measures. It is certain, however, that he would have proceeded to still more violent steps, if his own course had been unchecked; but happily, all the complying Clergy were not like Burnet: so that William soon discovered, that the feeling in favour of the Church of England was stronger than he had at first anticipated. The Clergy as a body were true to their principles. They did not intend to renounce their creed, because circumstances had compelled them to renounce King James: but it must be confessed, that if all the Bishops and Clergy had been of the same stamp with Burnet and some others, whose principles had been derived from foreign sources, the Anglican Church would have been destroyed, as a State Establishment, while the true followers of the English Reformation must have cast in their lot with the Nonjurors. Evelyn lamented the course which was pursued respecting the Oath: but he distinctly attributes it to Presbyterian counsels, with which Burnet could easily comply. "The penalty is to be the losse of their dignitie and spiritual preferment. This is thought to have ben driven on by the Presbyterians, our new governors. God in mercy send us help, and direct the counsels to his glory and good of his Church."[32]

William did not find the Whigs so pliable as perhaps was expected. They thwarted him in some of his schemes: but in any step, calculated to weaken the Church or to degrade the Clergy, their support was readily and cordially yielded. Burnet, however, was an actor in all the events of the period: and some notices respecting his influence may serve to reflect light on the transactions, in which King William acted so conspicuous a part. It appears to me, that Burnet's conduct from the beginning admits of no justification. In his history, he gives a very partial account of his own proceedings; but the facts, which remain on record, point him out as one of the chief advisers of those strong measures, which were adopted with respect to the Nonjurors. The part he acted at Exeter, soon after the Prince's arrival, appears unworthy of a Christian minister. "On the 9th, the Prince commanded Dr. Burnet to order the Priest Vicars not to pray for the Prince of Wales, and to make use of no other prayer for the King, but what is in the Second service, which they refused to observe till they were forced, and very severely threatened: the Bishop and the Dean being then gone from the city. About twelve, this day, notice was given to the Canons, and all the Vicars choral and singing lads, to attend in the Cathedral, for that the Prince would be there: and Dr. Burnet ordered them, as soon as the Prince entered into the choir, they should sing Te Deum, which was observed. The Prince sat in the Bishop's chair. After Te Deum, Dr. Burnet, in a seat under the pulpit, read aloud the Prince's Declaration."[33] In his own History Burnet merely says, that the Clergy were fearful, and that the Bishop and Dean ran away. Yet he himself was the most prominent actor in the city of Exeter: and it seems difficult to reconcile his conduct with his avowed principles, as a Clergyman of the Anglican Church.

It appears almost impossible to respect such a character. Very soon after William had obtained possession of the throne, he appointed Burnet to the See of Salisbury: but it is evident, that he cared little for the Church, in which he was made a Bishop. "In profession a Prelate, a Dissenter in sentiment. To protect Protestantism against Popery there was no character, however infamous, he would not defend."[34] He was a thorough partizan, and a scheming politician.[35] Appointed as he was to the See of Salisbury, he could not expect that his opinions would have much weight with the Clergy: yet he ventured to address them, in a Pastoral Letter, before he quitted London. This was written under the plea, that he was detained in London; but really, that he might put forth his views respecting the Oath of Allegiance, which was the subject of the Letter. The opinions which he advanced were such as no rightminded Englishman could maintain. "Since I cannot," says he, "yet come to do the duties of my function among you, I think myself obliged to supply my absence by watching over you as effectually as I can at this distance." He proceeds at once to the Oath of Allegiance; and after many arguments, which probably most men would admit, he comes to the reasons, which induced the Prince of Orange to act. "Even at Common Law an heir in remainder has just cause to sue him that is in possession, if he makes waste on the inheritance, which is his in reversion. It is much more reasonable, since the thing is much more important, that the heir of a crown should interpose, when he sees him that is in possession hurried on blindfold to subject an independent kingdom to a foreign jurisdiction, and thereby to rob it both of its glory, and its security. And when a pretended heir was set up in such a manner, that the whole kingdom believed him spurious. In such a case it cannot be denied, even according to the highest principles of passive obedience, that another sovereign Prince might make war on a king so abusing his power: and that this was the case in fact, will not be called in question by any Protestant. So then here was a war begun upon just and lawful grounds, and a war being so begun, it is the uncontroverted opinion of all lawyers, that the success of a just war gives a lawful title to that which is acquired in the progress of it. Therefore King James, having so far sunk in the war that he both abandoned his people and deserted the government, all his right and title did accrue to the King, in the right of a conquest over him: so that if he had then assumed the crown, the opinion of all lawyers must have been on his side: but he chose rather to leave the matter to the determination of the Peers and people of England, chosen and assembled together with all possible freedom, who did upon that declare him their king: so that with relation to King James's rights, he was vested with them by the successes of a just war, and yet he was willing with relation to the people to receive the crown by their declaration, rather than to hold it in the right of his sword."[36]

I cannot but consider this a most improper course to be pursued by a Bishop of the Anglican Church: and within the space of two years after, the same view was taken by the House of Commons. The notion of a right in King William by Conquest was asserted in a pamphlet, intitled, "King William and Queen Mary Conquerors:" and when this obnoxious production was brought under the cognizance of Parliament in 1692, Burnet's Pastoral Letter was joined with it in the same vote. Both the pamphlet and the Letter were ordered to be publicly burnt. Kennet intimates his opinion, that the latter was sacrificed "to a poor jest upon the Author's name." He adds: "The majority in the warmth of debating, and some of 'em for the sake of allusion to the Author's name, passed the same censure on that excellent letter, and ordered it publicly to be burnt by the common executioner. On January the 24th the Lords came to a like resolution: that the assertion of King William and Queen Mary's being King and Queen by Conquest, was highly injurious to their Majesties, and inconsistent with the principles on which the government is founded, and tending to the subversion of the rights of the people. Which Vote being communicated to the Commons, that house on the next day unanimously concurred with their Lordships, with the remarkable addition of some words: viz. injurious to their Majesties' rightful title to the crown of this realm."[37]

It seems very difficult to acquit Burnet of duplicity in constantly treating the son of James II. as a supposititious child. It was a political trick, and served to amuse the common people: but Burnet could not have believed his own assertions. In this light was the thing regarded by William, who never fulfilled his promise of examining the matter: but Burnet gravely asserts the spuriousness of the child, when it must be evident, that he knew the contrary. This circumstance seems to justify the severity of Lord Dartmouth's remark. In one of his notes on his History, his Lordship expresses an opinion, that Burnet would not designedly publish any thing which he believed to be false: but in another note on the second volume he writes: "I wrote in the first volume of this book, that I did not believe the Bishop designedly published anything he believed to be false: therefore think myself obliged to write in this, that I am fully satisfied that he published many things that he knew to be so." The following testimony is from a friendly pen: "Several other works shew him to be a man neither of prudence nor temper: his sometimes opposing and sometimes favoring the Dissenters, hath much exposed him to the generality of the people of England."[38]

Before we proceed further, a circumstance must be mentioned relative to Archbishop Sancroft, which may shield his memory from the imputation of a popish leaning. Besides his refusal to sanction the Declaration for Liberty of Conscience, he printed and circulated a series of Articles, which were sent to all the Bishops of his Province in July 1688. They shew, that the Archbishop was no enemy to liberty of conscience; but only to the exercise of a dispensing power in the crown. These Articles were also accompanied with a Letter dated July 27, in which it is stated: "Yesterday the Archbishop of Canterbury delivered the Articles, which I send you enclosed, to those Bishops who are at 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: 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 differences 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 at this critical time has had the courage to do his duty in so signal a manner." In these Articles the Archbishop recommends Catechizing, and expounding the grounds of the Christian Religion. One is important, as shewing the Archbishop's consistency in opposing Popery, and yet adhering strictly to the order of the Church of England: "That they perform the daily office publicly 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: especially on such days and at such times as the Rubrics and Canons appoint, on Holy Days, and their Eves, on Ember and Rogation Days, on Wednesdays and Fridays in each week, and especially in Advent and Lent." I quote this Article, because in the present day, when it cannot be pleaded, that the danger of the introduction of Popery is so great as at the period of the Revolution, there are persons, who look upon a compliance with the Rubrics and Canons as a symptom of Popery, and who cannot oppose Romanism without opposing their own Church at the same time. These individuals have never done so much against Popery, or suffered so much for the sake of the truth, as Archbishop Sancroft: and it is evident, that the most consistent Churchmen are the most effective opponents of Rome.

In the seventh Article, the Archbishop recommends, that the Clergy should explain to the people, at least four times a year, that the Papal Supremacy was an usurpation. Alluding in the tenth to the means adopted by the Romish Priests, especially with people in dying circumstances, he recommends the utmost diligence on the part of the clergy: "Thus with their utmost diligence, watching over every sheep within their fold (especially in that critical moment) lest those evening wolves devour them."

Sancroft moreover recommended "more especially that they have a very tender regard to our brethren, the Protestant 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 with 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 hereunto, that they take all opportunities of assuring and convincing them that the Bishops of this Church are really and sincerely irreconcilable enemies to the errors, superstitions, idolatries, and tyrannies of the Church of Rome." In this way did he write, who lias since been traduced by party writers, as a Papist and a bigot.[39]

Not long before the day fixed by the Act for the deprivation of the Bishops a plot against the government was discovered, in which Lord Preston, Mr. Ashton and some others were implicated. Lord Preston and Mr. Ashton were tried and executed; but the evidence on which the conviction was founded was of a very slender description. A quantity of letters was discovered in the possession of Lord Preston, among which were two, said to be written by Turner, Bishop of Ely. In one, the writer says, "I speak in the plural, because I write my elder brother's sentiments as well as my own, and the rest of the family, though lessened in number; yet if we are not mightily out in our accounts, we are growing in our interest, that is in yours." In the second letter, the writer, after expressing his determination not to swerve from his course, adds, "I say this in behalf of my elder brother, and the rest of my nearest relations, as well as for myself."[40] That these letters were written by the Bishop of Ely was never proved; but Burnet and others chose to assert, that the proof was conclusive. It is indeed doubtful whether the other parties were engaged in any plot. "In December 1690, says Wood, there was a pretended discovery of a pretended plot of the Jacobites or Nonjurors, whereupon some of them were imprisoned; and Dr. Turner being suspected to be in the same pretended plot, he withdrew and absconded."[41] A proclamation was issued for the apprehension of the Bishop of Ely, but not for some time after, not indeed until the 5th of February, when the sees of the Bishops were become vacant by the operation of the Act of Parliament. This circumstance seems to support the idea, that the charge against Turner was made for the purpose of reflecting odium on the Nonjuring Prelates, that so the government might have a better colour for filling up the vacancies. Tindal, who assumes the guilt of Turner, says that the discovery of the Bishop of Ely's correspondence gave the King a fair opportunity to fill up the vacant sees.[42] As Turner was permitted to live quietly afterward, we may assume that the government did not consider him guilty. Burnet says: "The discovery of the Bishop of Ely's correspondence in the name of the rest, gave the King a great advantage in filling these vacant sees, which he resolved to do on his return from the Congress." Burnet produces no evidence against Turner: and I cannot but conclude, that the charge was not only unfounded, but that it was fabricated for the purpose of rendering the suspended Bishops obnoxious to the people at the period, when the strong step of removing them from their sees was about to be put in execution. The circumstances are peculiar. The plot was discovered in December: the trials occurred in January: Lord Preston and Mr. Ashton were executed during that month: and the First of February was the day fixed by Act of Parliament for the deprivation of the Bishops. A charge, therefore, against Turner, and such a charge as implicated Sancroft and the rest of the Bishops, was the very thing to excite the public mind, and to deprive them of that sympathy, which their sufferings in the cause of the Church in the previous reign, and their present misfortunes, were likely to produce. Calamy rather improves upon Burnet: he says, the sees were not filled "till letters were discovered that shewed what correspondencies and engagements there were among them."[43] This is from a man who professed a great regard for truth and holiness: yet he joins in traducing men, without any evidence whatever.

Some particulars respecting Mr. Ashton's trial and conviction may be acceptable to those, who may not have access to the works, in which the accounts are preserved. The charge was, that he had written letters and papers for the use of the King of France. A rumour was circulated that he was a Romanist: consequently several witnesses were produced to prove that he was a Protestant. Dr. Fitzwilliam alleged, that Asliton had received the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper only six months before in Ely Chapel. This was of course under Turner, the Bishop of Ely. A juryman, therefore, asked whether the Prayers were read for King William and Queen Mary? the Doctor replied, that he could not say that they were altered: but, in reply to another question, he admitted that the names, as inserted in the altered Prayers, were not mentioned. He added, that he had been a hundred times at Prayers in their altered state. The witness was then asked if he had taken the Oaths to the King and Queen. He replied: "No, I have not, Sir, that's my unhappiness: but I know how to submit and live peaceably under them." He also added, "If any one can say I have done or acted any thing against the government, I will readily submit to be punished for it." This was the case with the great mass of the Nonjurors: yet such men were branded as Papists, and by persons too who had gone all lengths with King James.

Though there was much reason to doubt the actual guilt of Ashton, and it was probable that he knew not the contents of the papers which were found on his person, having picked up the parcel which had been dropped by Lord Preston, whom in honour he would not betray, yet he was convicted, and received sentence of death. He was executed on the 28th of January. At the place of execution he was attended by two clergymen, one of whom, as we find from his own statement in connexion with his absolution of Sir William Perkins and Sir John Friend, was Collier. He says, indeed, that he absolved Mr. Ashton by the imposition of hands, as in the latter case. In the paper delivered to the Sheriff, he declares himself a member of the Church of England. With respect to King James, he says: "When I add these considerations: that we had solemnly professed our allegiance, and often confirmed it with oaths; that his Majesty's usage after the Prince of Orange's arrival was very hard, severe, and unjust: and that all the new methods of settling this nation have hitherto made it more miserable, poor, and more exposed to foreign enemies: and that the religion we pretend to be proud of preserving, is now, much more than ever, likely to be destroyed: there seemed to be no way to prevent the impending evils but the calling home an injured Sovereign." He then admits, that appearances were against him; but he declares himself innocent of the particular charge, namely, any knowledge of the contents of the papers. By the Nonjurors he was naturally regarded as a martyr to loyal principles. Kennet says that there was a plan for restoring James through the aid of France, and that the royal clemency was so manifest, that Ashton only suffered.[44]

In 1691 a small volume of Prayers was privately printed by a Nonjuror. With the volume there is a portrait of John Ashton: but whether this was the gentleman who was executed, or whether he was the author of the Prayers, I am unable to determine. It is not improbable that Grascome, or some other Nonjuring Clergyman was the author, and that the portrait of Ashton, who had recently been executed, and who was regarded as a martyr to Nonjuring principles, was inserted, both as a memorial of the sufferer in a manual of devotion, and as a recommendation to the volume. The book is a remarkable one, as exhibiting the views of the Nonjurors respecting King James, for whom there are several petitions, though he is not mentioned by name. The Prayers are generally couched in Scriptural language, and consist of confessions of sin, with supplications for divine mercy.[45]

 

 
  1. Nicolson's Epistolary Correspondence, i. 7, 8.
  2. Nicolson's Epistolary Correspondence, ii. 387.
  3. D'Oyley's Sancroft, i. 436, 437.
  4. A Defence of the Profession which the Right Reverend Father in God John, late Lord Bishop of Chichester, made upon his deathbed: concerning passive obedience and the new Oaths. Together with an Account of some Passages of his Lordship's Life. London 1690. pp. 7, 8.
  5. Defence, &c.
  6. Ibid. p. 9.
  7. Defence, &c. pp. 10, 11. Kettlewell's Life, 87, 88.
  8. Defence, &c. 46, 47.
  9. Ibid. 64.
  10. Defence, &c. 64.
  11. Kettlewell's Life, 85.
  12. Dalrymple, i. 304, 305. Mason's Vindication, by Lindsay. Preface lxxxiii.
  13. Kettlewell's Life, 91, 92.
  14. Ibid. p. 92. Calamy makes it a merit on the part of the Dissenters that they took the Oath. He says they "freely took the Oath." Undoubtedly they did, having no conscience in the matter, as their previous conduct testified. They had done more for King James, and would have supported anyone without regard to principles. Their conduct proves that this remark is just. Calamy, i. 488.
  15. Whiston's Memoirs, 30.
  16. Kettlewell, 81, 82.
  17. Ibid. 84.
  18. Hallam admits that tampering with the Liturgy would have nourished the Schism. Yet the Liturgy was at one time in jeopardy. Hallam, iii. 238.
  19. Birch's Life of Tillotson, 330.
  20. Kettlewell's Life, 135, 136. D'Oyley, i. 439. Le Neve, i. 213. Birch says that some of the Nonjurors complained afterwards of this commission, and that the Document was withdrawn by the Archbishop's order. It was, however, subsequently restored to the Archives at Lambeth. Birch's Tillotson, 330, 332.
  21. Marshall's Defence, 156.
  22. The following is one of the petitions: "Restore us again the public worship of thy name, the reverend administration of the Sacraments, raise up the former government both in Church and State, that we may be no longer without King, without priest, and without God in the world." It was stated that more than ten thousand copies were circulated, and that it was used in private assemblies instead of the usual service. Bennet's Memorial of the Reformation, 339, 340. Ralph, ii. 230.
  23. Kettlewell, 105—08. D'Oyley, i. 452—56. Ralph, ii. 231. So great was the enmity of some persons towards the suspended Bishops, that they resorted to the grossest abuse. In a Pamphlet entitled "A Midnight Touch at an unlicensed Pamphlet, called &c." we met with the following passages: "We do justly term and esteem him who abdicated the throne, no other than the late king: yet we find in the paper this day published, five Clergymen, in defiance of an Act of Parliament, calling themselves, W. Cant, W. Norwich, F. Ely, T. Bath and Wells, T. Peterborough." The writer says they ought to have subscribed their names only with the addition "Late Bishops, if they pleased." Then we read: "It is certain that there is a third plot, as that there is a new Liturgy: and that there is a Lambeth Club, the paper now published confesses: but whether holy or not, I know not; and for ought I know the inserting that epithet, holy, both to theirs and the Jacobite or Devil Tavern Club, may be a good reason for saying it is abusive." The scurrilous writer ventures to charge the Bishops with having persecuted English Protestants, and with wishing for the power to do so again.
  24. Birch, 154, 155. Stillingfleet's Misc. Discourses, 234—42.
  25. Melbourne's Legacy, 8vo. Vol. ii. 341, 342, 345.
  26. Bowles's Life of Ken, ii. 194—96.
  27. Kennet, iii. 518.
  28. Kettlewell's Life, 112.
  29. Kettlewell's Life, 113.
  30. Noble, i. 87.
  31. A Letter to the Authors of the Answers to the Case of Allegiance, pp. 4, 5. It has been well remarked: "The blessings which have been derived to us from this great event make every Englishman anxious to justify the principles on which it was carried on: but, after all, it seems much more clear, that the Revolution was necessary, than easy to justify it on any permanent principles." Short's History of the Church of England, ii. 375.
  32. Evelyn, iii. 281.
  33. Somers' Tracts, xiv. 260, 261. Calamy's Life, Notes, i. 193, 194. There was an odd assortment of persons with the Prince on his coming to England. Thus while Burnet was preaching in the cathedral at Exeter: "Ferguson preached in the Presbyterian Meeting House, but was fain to force his way with his sword up to the Pulpit, for even the old Presbyter himself could not away with the breath of his brother Ferguson in his Diocese." Somers' Tracts, xiv. 261. Ralph, i. 1038. Burnet also preached at Exeter in the Cathedral, asserting that God was on the Prince's side, "and had now chose to begin the deliverance of England, on the same day that it had formerly been devoted to ruin and destruction. This is a circumstance in his history he has thought fit to pass over." Ibid.
  34. Noble, i. 83.
  35. It is said that he gave early intimation to the court of Hanover, of the project of the Revolution, intimating that the success of the enterprize might lead to the entail of the crown on that illustrious house. Biog. Brit. Art. Burnet. Ralph calls him, "The Champion in Ordinary of the Revolution, and ready to enter the lists against all comers." Ralph, ii. 3. Alluding to his elevation to the Episcopal bench, the same historian remarks: "and thus our Historian, in acknowledgement of his many services, became a Lord of Parliament." Ibid. 59.
  36. A Pastoral Writ by the Right Reverend Father in God, Gilbert, Lord Bishop of Sarum, to the Clergy of his Diocese, concerning the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy. 4to. London, pp. 20, 21.
  37. Kennet, iii. 549, 657. Salmon, i. 267. The Pamphlet "King William and Queen Mary Conquerors" was written by Mr. Blount. Ralph remarks that it contains no sentiment which had not been broached in Lloyd's (Bishop of Worcester) Sermon on the 5th of November, 1690, preached before their Majesties. Ralph, ii. 399.
  38. Macky's Memoirs, p. 139. It appears from a disgraceful circumstance at his funeral, that Burnet was in no favour with the populace. The following extract, though disgraceful to the people, is sufficient evidence of unpopularity. "Last Tuesday night (March 22, 1714-15) the body of that great and good man, the late Dr. Burnet, Bishop of Sarum, was interred near the Communion Table, in Clerkenwell Church. As the corpse was conveying to the Church, the rabble (that shews no distinction to men of great parts and learning, when once they conceive an ill opinion of them) flung dirt and stones at the hearse, and broke the glasses of the coach that immediately followed it." Gent's Mag. 1788, Vol. lviii. 952. From a Letter containing an extract from a newspaper of the period.
  39. See the Articles printed at the time.
  40. Ralph, ii. 2,55, where the correspondence is printed.
  41. Wood's Athenæ.
  42. Tindal, i. 166.
  43. Calamy, i. 485.
  44. State Trials, iv. 485, 487. viii. App. 483, 484. Kennet, iii. 575, 576.
  45. An Office for Penitents. Or a Form of Prayer fit to be used in sinful and distracted times. 12mo. London. Printed in the year 1691.
 
A History of the Nonjurors - fleuron.png