A History of the Nonjurors/Chapter 6

A History of the Nonjurors - ornament 4.png



A. D. 1701—1711.

Anne's Accession.—State of Parties.—Death of Kidder.—Dodwell's Case in View.—Controversy.—Dodwell's Parænesis.—His further Prospect, &c.—Its Arguments.—Death of Bishop Frampton.—Death of Bishop Lloyd.—Application to Ken.—His Reply.—Wishes the Schism closed.—Dodwell, Nelson, and Brooksby, return to the National Church.—Hickes's Views.—Letters of Nelson and Brokesby.—Dodwell's Case in Fact.—Arguments.—Dodwell's Death.—Replies to Dodwell.

Anne succeeded King William according to the Act of Settlement, by which the crown was secured to her, as the next Protestant heir of the family of King James. When the New Parliament was summoned, it was found, that the majority were Tories: consequently the Whigs were displaced from office, their opponents succeeding in their room.[1] At this period there were four parties in the state, all possessing more or less influence: the Tories, the Whigs, the Roman Catholics, and the Nonjurors. The Tories were the friends of the Church, while the Whigs were more inclined towards the Dissenters. The Whigs were avowed friends to the Protestant succession: but they did not view the Church of England with a favourable aspect. Thus they endeavoured to persuade King William, that his success was owing to their support, and that the Tories were his enemies. It is remarked, by a writer who understood the state of parties, that King William found the Tories the better subjects, as the Whigs wished to restrain the royal prerogative in various instances, which was by no means agreeable to his Majesty. Burnet places this circumstance to the credit of the Whigs, who, he says, were jealous of the liberties of the country. "But," says the writer to whom I have alluded, "notwithstanding the opinion of this Right Reverend Father of the Church, I am apt to think from the known conduct of the Whigs, that they were less afraid of arbitrary power, than of their being themselves out of all power: for we have seen them, as well as the Tories, advocates for, and stretching the prerogative while they had the helm of government in their hands, though when out of power, as violent for restraining it, and extending the liberties of the people, at the expence of the rights of the crown."[2] They consented to set aside Episcopacy in Scotland, though, as will be shewn in another chapter, it might have been retained with the approval of the country. They therefore viewed the Church with suspicion. Exceptions there were: but still the charge, with respect to the majority, is correct. Those Whigs, who were attached to the Church, were Whigs in politics only, and not in Ecclesiastical matters, on which they agreed with the Tories. Of this class was Swift, during the early portion of his political career—a Whig in Politics, but on all Ecclesiastical subjects standing forth as the unflinching advocate of the Church. Harley's views were at one time of the same character: as were also those of many other distinguished men of the period.

The Tories also were divided into two sections—one secretly devoted to the exiled family, and consequently anxious for their restoration, whenever it could be accomplished, the other strongly attached to the Protestant succession. During this period of strong party feeling, it was usual to charge the whole body of the Tories with a secret attachment to the Pretender: and the same charge is still alleged by some modern writers.

While, however, it is certain that a section of the Tories favoured the cause of the exiled line, it is equally certain, that many of the leading Whigs held a secret correspondence with the Pretender. Had they been able to have secured the ascendancy of their party, they would have been ready to have placed the Pretender on the throne, though some may have acted from no other motive than a wish to embarrass the government. It is clear, therefore, that, if some of the Tories wished to restore the Pretender, many of the Whigs were by no means anxious, that his family should become extinct. His name was a very convenient pretence to the Whigs, whenever they wished to excite the popular feeling against their opponents. If then it were criminal in the Tory section to favour the Pretender, it was equally criminal in the Whigs, no matter from what motives, to hold a secret correspondence with him, and thereby endanger that Protestant succession, respecting which they were always declaiming in their speeches in Parliament, and in their addresses to the people. Under such circumstances, it was not strange that Swift, Harley, and other Whigs, who were the warm supporters of the Church of England, should unite, in the latter part of this reign, with the Tories. The administration of the last four years indeed was composed of the two parties united: but whatever may have been the errors of the Tories during the reign of Queen Anne, nothing could have been more inconsistent and selfish than the conduct of the Whigs.

A very acute observer remarks, "What the wishes of many of the Tories were, was little attempted to be concealed: and that some of the Whigs were not acting on a fixed principle of attachment to the Protestant succession, is now clear from their correspondence with the Court of St. Germain's in the reigns of King William and Queen Anne, especially the latter."[3] In short, the Whigs were ready to sacrifice any thing and every thing to place: and could they have seen it their interest to restore the family of King James, they would not have hesitated for a moment. They had differences with King William at an early period respecting the succession to the throne. Men appeared to have changed. The Tories, who once wished to preserve the rights of James's family, were now opposed to their pretensions: while the Whigs interposed to prevent their hopes from being extinguished. Thus it was remarked, "The Whigs were quite as troublesome to King William as the Tories."[4]

Kidder, the successor of Ken, was killed in his bed with his wife, by the falling of a stack of chimneys, in the palace at Wells, on the night of the great storm the 26th and 27th November 1703. On the Queen's accession an offer was made to restore Ken to his diocese, in which case Kidder would have been removed to another see. He declined, however, on the ground of age and health, and probably because he was not satisfied about the Oaths. This latter supposition, indeed, appears more than probable; for it is stated that Ken refused on taking a new exception to the Oath of Abjuration. On Kidder's death he persuaded Hooper to accept it. In an original letter published by Mr. Bowles, Ken says: "I hearing yt ye Bishop of St. Asaph was offered Bath and Wells, and that on my account he refused it, wrott to give my assent to it. I did it in regard to ye diocese, yt they might not have a latitudinarian traditor imposed on them, who would betray the baptismal faith."[5] On the 6th of December 1703, he thus writes to Hooper: "I am informed yt you have had an offer of Bath and Wells, and yt you refused it, which I take very kindly, because I know you did it on my account: but since I am well assured yt ye diocese cannot be happy to yt degree in any other hands than in your owne, I desire you to accept of it. I told you long agoe at Bath how willing I was to surrender my canonical claim to a worthy person, but to none more willingly than to yourselfe." On the 20th of December Ken writes to congratulate Hooper on his acceptance of the see. Some of the Nonjurors were displeased at Ken's resignation: and he alludes to them in this letter. "I could easily foresee," says he, "yt by my concerne for you I shd incurre ye displeasure of some of my brethren, but this is not ye first instance in wch I have dissented from them, and never had cause to repent of it." When the Queen proposed the see to Hooper, he suggested Ken's restoration. Her Majesty was pleased at the idea, and ordered Hooper to make the offer. Ken thanked her Majesty, but was unwilling to return again to the business of the world.[6] In a letter to Lloyd of April 1st, 1704, he says, "I perceive by youre two last that your Lordship is very shy of owning your approbation of my action." He alludes to his resignation, of which Lloyd did not approve. He says that he foresaw the censures that were bestowed upon him: and he assures Lloyd, "I never did any thing in my life more to my satisfaction than my seceding."[7]

For a few years after the death of King William the Nonjurors proceeded very quietly in their course; but at length circumstances arose, which led to divisions in their little body. Dodwell, who did not wish to continue the schism after the death of the deprived Bishops, saw that the time might soon arrive, when, according to his principles, it would be a duty to return to the National Church, and close the breach. To give time and opportunity to consider the subject, he published in 1705 his "Case in View considered."[8] At this time Lloyd, Ken, and Frampton alone survived of the deprived Bishops. Neither Ken nor Frampton were likely to challenge the obedience of the Nonjurors: and, therefore, the question which Dodwell wished to discuss must be settled at the death of Lloyd. The title fully explains the writer's object. His view was, that in case the deprived Bishops should leave their sees vacant by death or resignation, the Nonjurors would not be under any obligation to continue the separation. He very wisely suggested, that it would be better to consider the case beforehand, than leave it to be discussed for the first time when, in his opinion, it would be necessary to act. At this time he viewed the complying Bishops as guilty of schism in setting up altar against altar; but, on the death of the deprived prelates, or their resignation, he considered that the possessors of the sees would be no longer schismatics, and that the Clergy might yield them obedience. He thus commences his Case in View:

"Our little flock (however sorry for the unhappy occasion) are competently well agreed in our practice, in relation to our present schism. We are agreed in asserting the spiritual rights of our surviving fathers, who are still pleased to claim them, which no lay deprivations can take from them. We agreed in abstaining from the communion, not only of the rival Bishops themselves, who are the principal schismaticks; but of all others also, who have made themselves accessary to the schism by any sacred communion with those rivals. Nor can we think ourselves at liberty from the duty of asserting those rights till they, to whom we owe that duty, shall think fit to discharge us from it by some explicite or, at least, implicite, renunciation of their title to them. But there is a case in view wherein we may, perhaps, not prove so unanimous, unless we provide for it before it come to pass. That is on a supposition that all our present survivors' sees were fairly vacated by death or renunciation. This being supposed, the inquiry will be, whether such vacancies of either kind will suffice to put an end to the schism? Or whether we shall still be under any obligation, even in that case, to keep up our opposite assemblies? And now is the fittest season for examining it, whilst our brethren are most indifferent to follow, what upon examination, is found true. Before they shall have declared their opinions, before they are divided into parties, before any ferment has risen, which is a natural consequence of such subdivision into parties, which may make them less equal judges of reasons produced for a cause opposed by them."[9]

The above is Dodwell's first paragraph; and it contains a most clear exposition of the state of the question. He next presses this proposition, that sentence is to be given in favour of the actual possessors of sees, when there is no dispossessed rival, who can present a better title.[10] The point is pursued at considerable length: and then the author advances another position, that when there is only one Bishop in a district, a separation can no more be justified than it could have been before altar was erected against altar.[11] After discussing this position, he argues that the nullity of schismatical consecrations and ordinations ceases when there are no rivals, and that orders then become valid, though they were not so originally while the rival Bishops survived. He supposes, that some of the Nonjurors might consider new consecrations necessary, before the complying Bishops, who were regarded as schismatics, could receive the powers, which in their opinion they had not while the schism existed. His own opinion was different. He says, "I see no reason why the nullity may not cease together with the schism: on the contrary, it ought to do so, if the nullity was wholly grounded on the schism: if their being nulli be a consequence of their being secundi."[12]

From this question, he proceeds to another, that of doctrine. He is of opinion, that their attachment to the doctrines of passive obedience and non-resistance will not oblige them to keep up the separation. This is a point of great importance in the controversy: and most persons must wish to see the workings of such a mind as Dodwell's on such a subject. He thus argues the question, after alluding to the separations in the early Church from heretical Bishops, whose sees were never regarded as full by the orthodox.

"This some of our beloved brethren might take to be the case in relation to the doctrines disputed between us and the prevailing separation. But lovers of peace will find cause to bless God, that this is not so really the case, as less attentive persons may imagine. Our truly catholic doctrines of passive obedience and non-resistance are still maintained by many of our late fathers and brethren, notwithstanding their new erected altars. But by none more openly and avowedly than the present excellent metropolitan of York."[13]

Having shewn, that the doctrines were still held by the Church of England, he proceeds to shew, that they were in greater danger from the practice of occasional communion, and that the evil would be best avoided by their re-union, when the sees of the deprived Bishops were actually vacant. Dodwell feared that the Dissenters, by being admitted to occasional communion, might vote on Church matters as Churchmen, and then declare, that certain doctrines were not those of the Church of England: and that such a proceeding might be deemed an act of the Church herself.[14]

He discusses also another doctrine, the independency of the Church on the State. This he says was so generally admitted by their divided brethren, that they need not continue the separation on that account. The doctrine was involved in their not acknowledging the validity of the lay-deprivations. But he considers, that the doctrine was received by the English Church, as established by law: and that many of the opponents of the Nonjurors used other plausible arguments against them, so as to evade the recognition of the right of the civil magistrate to deprive.[15]

On such grounds, which are stated at great length and enforced with much learning and argument, Dodwell urges the re-union with the Bishops in possession, whenever the sees of the deprived Prelates should be vacant by death or resignation. Such is the aim of the "Case in View," &c. the title of which most distinctly explains the character of the work.

In the previous year, 1704, he published in Latin his "Parænesis to Foreigners," concerning the English Schism. This work charges the schism on the complying Bishops; but still there was nothing inconsistent between his views at this period, and those which are put forth in his "Case in View" and his subsequent publications. He always charged the schism on the Bishops, who complied, though, when the deprived Prelates were removed by death, he thought that the breach should be healed by a submission to the Bishops in possession. The "Parænesis" contained a Summary of the views, which he had advanced and defended in his previous publications. It was intended for foreigners, and on that account was composed in Latin. He argues in this work that the deprived Bishops were not the cause of the breach: and that the civil power could not deprive them of their authority in the Church. He asserts, as he continues to do in his subsequent works, the independency of the Church on the civil magistrate, recommending both Protestants and Romanists abroad to do the same. One of the positions in the "Parænesis" is so generally applicable to all times and circumstances, that it can never be too repeatedly put forward. It is this: that we have as great a certainty, if not a greater, of the settlement of Bishops to govern Churches, as of the Canon of Scripture itself—namely, the universal tradition of the Church, even in the second century.[16] It would be well, if those persons who pretend, that episcopacy is not of primitive institution, would examine the evidence for the authenticity of Scripture, and then judge whether it is in any way superior to that, which may be adduced in favour of Bishops as governors of the Church.

No one was more strenuous in defending the rights of the deprived Bishops: yet no one was more anxious to heal the breach than Dodwell. He was consistent with himself throughout the entire controversy: and had all the Nonjurors been men of a similar spirit, the schism would have been closed, when Dodwell and Nelson entered into communion with the Bishops in possession of the Sees. In the year 1707, the Abjuration Act was ordered by Parliament to be enforced in the case of all suspected persons: and this proceeding tended to keep back some persons, who otherwise might have returned to the national communion.

I have before alluded to Kettlewell's opinions. Though he differed from Dodwell, as has been shewn, yet there is reason to believe, that had he lived until the death of Lloyd, he would have acted with Nelson and Brokesby. The writer of the Life of Kettle well thus speaks of Dodwell's "Case in View:" "When he had lived to see all (speaking of the deprived Bishops) except one or two of them go before him into eternity, he began thereupon to reconsider what had been written by him so early after the Revolution: and being desirous that this rupture might be closed, and an end put to this most unhappy schism, that he might dye in peace, he wrote and published his Case in View, to shew that in case these his invalidly deprived Fathers should, either by death or resignation, leave all their sees vacant, none would be then longer obliged to keep up their separation from those Bishops, who, according to him, were as yet involved in the guilt of schism."[17]

In the year 1707, two years after the publication of the Case in View, Dodwell put forth another work on the same subject, entitled "A Further Prospect of the Case in View, in answer to some new objections, not there considered." Certain objections were raised against a return to the established communion, which were not considered in the Case in View. These objections are stated and met in The Further Prospect. The chief of them refer to the Prayers for the existing Sovereign, which the Nonjurors could not use: and Dodwell undertakes to shew, that they need not be a bar to the healing of the schism. He contends, therefore, that they could not oblige the Bishops in possession to make reparation for what they had done, when they should have no Bishops of their own; for in such a case they would be only private communicants, "who cannot pretend to any right to give laws of communion, but must be obliged to receive them, from those who have the power of the sacraments, if we will have any communion at all."[18] From this passage it is clear, that Dodwell did not admit the validity of the consecrations of Hickes and Wagstaffe; and probably he did not know, that any thing of the kind had taken place. We shall see presently that he disavowed all such consecrations: and, therefore, after Lloyd's death, he considered that, as a party, they had no Bishops.

He then comes to the question of the Prayers, and argues, that all Prayers to which they cannot assent, do not oblige them to separate,—not even false or immoral Prayers, when the Church is not blameable for them. The Further Prospect was published as a letter: and he thus addressed the party to whom he writes, on the point in question: "I proceed now to your other objection, which, I confess, I never looked on as sufficient to justifie a separation of communion. It relates to the Prayers in the public offices to which we cannot heartily say Amen."[19] Dodwell meets the objection by another case, that of Titus Oates. A Plot was pretended to be revealed by Oates, and a Form of Prayer was set forth by the Crown; though many persons did not believe in the existence of the plot. They knew indeed the contrary. He, therefore, says: "Yet the offices then imposed generally supposed the truth of it. And the Prayers then offered were for things not desirable. But upon that supposition must we, therefore, even then have been obliged to separate from those Prayers, and the whole communion wherein they were used, when we were satisfied that the witnesses did not deserve credit, that their narratives were otherwise unlikely and inconsistent, and that the petitions desired, pursuantly to the belief of them, were therefore needless and unreasonable, as grounded on false suggestions? Could we have been excuseable if we had done so?"[20] Dodwell also remarks: "In the reign of James II. we used that petition in the Litany, that God would keep and strengthen him in the true worship. And we were upbraided for it by the Papists, pretending, that we, doing so, owned his Popery, then professed by him to be the true worshipping of God: and that we prayed God to keep and strengthen him in it. And undoubtedly this petition was designed for a Prince whose worship the Church believed true: such as the Prince was when the Litany was composed: and ought to have been altered when the case was altered. Ought we, therefore, even then, to have begun our separation from the public assemblies? No! certainly. We could not have done it without very great injustice. It was very certain that none of our Church's true communion could believe these expressions true in the sense in which our adversaries are pleased to upbraid us with them."[21] He then argues, that private communicants cannot make changes: that they cannot join in prayers which suppose an approbation of an opposite faith: "much less for petitions for keeping and strengthening a soul in a belief which themselves think destructive of his salvation:" but that in the present case no justification could be pleaded. He concluded, that their presence at prayers, which they could not approve, would not imply that they were of the same mind.[22] He also thought that they might shew their dissent by not answering Amen to the petitions in question.

The whole argument in the "Further Prospect of the Case in View" is most elaborately managed. Three Bishops now survived, Frampton, Lloyd, and Ken. The next year the number was reduced to two, as Frampton died in 1708, at the age of eighty-six, and was buried privately at Standish in Gloucestershire. Frampton never had a desire to continue the separation. He could not take the Oath of Allegiance, and was prepared to suffer the consequences: but beyond this he did not wish to proceed. As long as he was able, he attended the service of the parish church in which he resided. He frequently catechized the children in the afternoon, and expounded the sermon, which had been preached by the parochial clergyman.[23]

On the first of January 1709, or 1710 according to our present reckoning, Lloyd, the deprived Bishop of Norwich, also died at Hammersmith: so that now Ken only survived of all those prelates, who, at the Revolution, had refused to take the Oath to William and Mary. Dodwell's Case in View was now become the Case in Fact: for Ken actually resigned his pretensions and claims to Hooper, who succeeded Kidder in the diocese of Bath and Wells. Dodwell and others applied to Ken to know if he challenged their subjection: who replied, that he did not, and who further expressed his wish, that the breach might now be closed by their union with the Bishops in possession of the sees. The particulars connected with the return of Dodwell, Nelson, Brokesby, and others to the National Church, are so full of interest, that they demand our special notice. Dodwell writes to a friend, under the date of January 11th, 1709-10, Lloyd having died only ten days before, concerning the schism. The letter is as follows:

"I have received yours, and have already written to my Lord of Bath and Wells, as the only survivor of the invalidly deprived Bishops, and as thereby having it in his power now to free not only his private diocese, but the whole National Church, from the schism introduced by rilling the sees, which were no otherwise empty than by the invalid deprivations. This I take to be sufficient upon our principles, who cannot justify our separate communion on any other account than that of the schism, provided there be no other, whom we do not yet know of, who does claim, and can prove a better title to some one episcopal altar of our National Church by succession to some of our deceased fathers, than the present incumbents.

"This I had no mind to signify to Mr. K before others in his shop, when he would have me declare myself satisfied, that the schism would end with the life of my Lord of Norwich. I had no mind then to intimate the case of clandestine consecrations by our deceased Fathers, before persons who were not concerned for the satisfaction of their own consciences: but might thence easily take occasion to represent my case as the same with theirs: that the Case in View would immediately fall out upon the decease of my Lord of Norwich.

"But if my Lord of Bath and Wells declare that he will not so far insist on his right, as to justifie our separate communions upon his account: we must then enquire, whether any claim appear derived from his deceased brethren, for keeping any one see full, which had been otherwise vacant by their death: and what evidence appears for supporting that claim: and whether that evidence be satisfactory? And the information concerning these facts must be expected from our friends in London. But it will, I believe, be most prudent not to enquire into secrets, the discovery of which may be dangerous to the persons concerned in them. The persons concerned in a good right so derived, may, and that commendably, in prospect of the peace which may follow from their concealment of what they have to say upon that argument, wave their right, how good soever otherwise. And we have reason to presume it is their design to do so, if they do not claim their right at this proper time of claiming it, and publish their evidences for the satisfaction of the ecclesiastical subjects. And we may securely practice as if they had no right at all, as presuming that they have waved it. Nor can there be any schism without a known altar, against which an opposite altar may be erected. It will not therefore be sufficient to prove them validly consecrated Bishops, unless they were also put in possession of some particular Church, by the same provincial Synod, by which they were consecrated. Which I am apt to think was a thing not foreseen, if there were any such clandestine consecrations.

"The other arguments, distinct from this of the schism, cannot, I think, be justifiable upon catholick principles. Nor can we therefore second our brethren who will continue the separation upon them. The adjusting these things will require some time before we can be resolved what to do. And the respite will be convenient for the unanimity even of those who act upon the same principles.

"Thus you have my thoughts, in short, concerning this whole matter. It concerns us all to join our prayers, that our own concord be broken as little as is possible, by our reconciliation into one communion with our adversaries."[24]

This is a most interesting and important document, as expressive of Dodwell's views on the question of the continuance of the separation. It is clear too that Dodwell was uncertain about the new consecrations. He had evidently heard a rumour of such a thing, but he had no positive knowledge of the fact. He writes from Shottesbrooke again nearly two months later, under the date of March 2nd, to another friend. At this time he had received Ken's answer.

"Since the decease of my Lord of Norwich, I have written to the excellent Bishop Ken, as the last survivor of the invalidly deprived Bishops, and have received his answer: as I have also seen another answer to another person, who consulted him on the same occasion. Both are very full in owning his not insisting on his just right.

"By these therefore and other informations, we are here fully satisfied, that there is not now any longer any altar in our National Church opposite to another altar of the same Church, that can justifie the continuance of our separation. Accordingly our two families here were at church on February the 26th, the first Sunday in Lent.

"But there are several, who still scruple the prayers. Endeavours are however using, that this difference of practice may make as little animosities in our flock as may be: whose endeavours will deserve the prayers of all who desire the good as well as the peace of this afflicted Church."[25]

The other letter from Ken, to which Dodwell alludes, was undoubtedly one which was sent to Nelson. Thus, writing to a friend on the same subject, under date of February 21st, 1709-10, Nelson says:

"In order to satisfie your inquiry, I can acquaint you, that I have received a letter from Bishop Ken, who assures me, 'that he was always against that practice which he foresaw would perpetuate the schism, and declared against it, and that he had acted accordingly, and would not have it laid at his door, having made a recess (as he says) for a much more worthy person: and he apprehends it was always the judgment of his brethren, that the death of the canonical Bishops would render the invaders canonical, in regard the schism is not to last always.' Afterwards his Lordship adds this: 'I presume Mr. Dodwell, and others with him, go to church, though I myself do not, being a public person: but to communicate with my successor in that part of the office which is unexceptionable, I should make no difficulty.'

"This letter I communicated to Mr. Dodwell when in town, which he thought clear enough for closing the schism, and I suppose in a short time he may have one to the same purpose."[26]

On the 5th of March, Brokesby writes to a gentleman on the same subject for Dodwell, whose weak sight at that time prevented him from writing himself. He cites Ken's answer to Dodwell, the same in substance as that to Nelson. It was as follows:

"In that you are pleased to ask me, whether I insist on my episcopal claim? my answer is, that I do not: and that I have no reason to insist on it, in regard that I made cession to my present most worthy successor: who came into the fold with my free consent and approbation. As for any clandestine claim, my judgment was always against it: and I have nothing to do with it, foreseeing that it would perpetuate a schism, which I found very afflicting to good people scattered in the country, where they could have no divine offices performed."

Brokesby adds:

"We are here satisfied the schism is at an end, when there is no altar against altar, nor any other Bishops but Suffragans to require our subjection. And therefore we go all to church."[27]

In Hickes's Constitution of the Catholic Church, a work not published until the year 1716, as will be noticed in the proper place, there is a letter "written for the use of a gentleman who lived in the communion of the faithful remnant of the Church of England, till the death of the Right Reverend Father in God, Dr. William Lloyd, Lord Bishop of Norwich: but shortly after his death left it, and joined himself to the other opposite communion of the Church of England, before this letter could be finished." The gentleman in question was Nelson, who applied to Hickes on the subject. The publisher speaks as one of the party, and therefore was probably Brett. He says that after the death of Lloyd "another question was started among us." This was, "whether the schism did not end, and the schismatical Bishops become catholic, by the death or cession of all the deprived Bishops." Dodwell held this view: but the publisher of Hickes's papers affirms, that the principle was repugnant to reason and the practice of the primitive Church, and "contrary to his former writings," alluding for a proof to "The Conference between Gerontius and Junius." Hickes, it seems, was ill at the time, yet he desired Nelson to wait till he could draw up a paper. Nelson replied, that he would only wait till Easter, the Bishop of Norwich dying on the 30th of January. Hickes was unable to write, and Nelson went to his parish church. The former proceeded with his letter: but before it was completed the latter died. The publisher labours to weaken the force of Nelson's example, remarking, that "Mr. Nelson's practice was founded upon Mr. Dodwell's reasons, and if they are not good, he was certainly in the wrong." In the letter itself, which was circulated in MS. after Nelson's death, Hickes enters largely upon the questions discussed by Dodwell, and especially on the argument derived from Ken's resignation. He states, that Ken had expressed his approval of the consecration of himself and Wagstaffe, though it would seem from the Bishop's letters that Hickes was mistaken. He calls Ken's wish to resign a strange humour, alleging, that the reason respecting the healing of the schism, "if good, should have obliged him to have resigned at first, and not to have kept his diocese twelve years or more in schism."[28] The letter was seen by Dodwell, who commented upon it in another letter, which is given by Marshall. Hickes had thrown out a notion respecting the continuance, in cases of necessity, of the succession by Presbyters: and Dodwell argues that such a thing would be impossible. He also repeats in this letter, that Ken was altogether against continuing the separation, and that the Irish prelates were of the same mind.[29]

Dodwell was resident in the diocese of Sarum, of which Burnet was Bishop, than whom no man could have been more obnoxious to the Nonjurors: yet this did not prevent him from carrying out his principles. The step, however, was a cause for animadversion: and he thus defends his practice:

"I have seen a letter of yours to a third person, the last paragraph whereof is spent in censure on me for returning to the communion of our old Fathers and brethren; especially for returning so soon, and that in the diocese of a Bishop so justly exceptionable as ours is, above the rest of his brethren.

"You say you always proposed waiting to the end of this session of Parliament. You did so. But I did not think myself at liberty to stay out of the true episcopal communion, when I could unite with it consistently on Catholic principles. Nor was I satisfied of continuing in our late communion since the death of my Lord of Norwich, and an assurance from my Lord of Bath and Wells, under his own hand, that he does not insist on his own right, as the last survivor of the deprived Bishops. This satisfied me that Dr. Hooper is no schismatic, and that no other Bishop of England contracts any contagion of schism in communicating with Dr. Hooper now, as administering Bishop of the Diocese of Bath and Wells.

"But you object the intemperate heat of our particular diocesan against our doctrine of nonresistance. And you add "that the whole world must think it a betraying our principles to come over to those who openly defy them." But whilst we live in his diocese, Providence has not left us at liberty to deny him that duty which is owing to him by the rules of the spiritual society, on account of our being inhabitants of his particular district. Nor can we whilst we live here communicate with the more orthodox Bishops of the same communion, otherwise than by communion with him who is in actual communion with his more orthodox brethren."[30]

There is much more on the same subject in the letter, from which the extracts are taken: but these are sufficient to show what Dod well's principles were, and to prove his consistency in carrying out those principles, even in Burnet's diocese.

Nelson was asked at the same time, whether a man could join in communion with a Church which used unlawful prayers. He replied that the unlawful prayers could not be assented to: but he might lawfully hold communion with such a Church: that notwithstanding such mistakes in a Church Christ holds communion with it: "and where Christ holds communion we are obliged to hold it: for it's there as with the soul in the body which leaves not the body for the head-ach, or a wound that is not mortal." He adds: "if that were true, we should hold no communion with any Church in the world: because it's more than probable, that no Church in its offices is so perfect as to be without error or mistake in them."

Nelson then meets an objection, which he puts in the following form: "If it be said why do we then forsake the communion of the Church of Rome?"

This objection is met so conclusively, and is so calculated to disprove the unreasonable charge of Popery, so flippantly alleged by some modern writers, that I shall quote his reply at length.

"1. I answer, that that Church is not to be held communion with, though its offices were pure, because of the doctrines and practices of it, which are corrupted in the vitals of them.

"2. The very offices do partake of the corruption, are vitally corrupted, as in respect of the object of worship, saints and images, or of the things prayed for, or the things acknowledged therein.

"3. They are so incorporated, that there is no communicating without them, the body of their service being made up of them.

"4. These are among them made necessary terms of communion: so should any of a contrary opinion hold communion with that Church in fact, as he is ipso facto an heretick, and stands excommunicated by their Maundy Thursday Bull, so, if discovered, would be prosecuted as such."[31]

In this way does Nelson prove that the cases were not similar. And the extracts, while they support his argument, are also calculated to shield his memory from the attacks of prejudiced persons in our own times.

Much correspondence took place at this period between the Nonjurors, since many dissented from Dodwell's view. Brokesby, as well as Dodwell, enters largely upon the subject. In a letter of October 19th 1710, he thus writes:

"That we could not communicate with the present possessors formerly because there was altar against altar; which cannot now be said: that we could not communicate with them while our excellent Fathers were alive: that these might if they had pleased have ordained Bishops into vacant sees: that this was not done, (which alone could have hindered it) and hence upon the death of our deprived Fathers a right accrued to the present possessors, there being none else who could justly challenge it: that when our deprived Fathers consecrated other Bishops, they capacitated them to perform episcopal functions, gave them a right to ordain others, and hereby a power to prevent the failure of this order, which might otherwise be feared as in Scotland: and they might have commissioned them to exercise their episcopal offices: but they could not commission them to do it after their deaths, the commission determining with the life of their commissioner, nor could give them right to act in full sees."[32]

Brokesby alludes to a report, that the deprived Bishops agreed that a power was given the new Bishops, that is, Hickes and Wagstaffe, equal to that of the Bishop of Norwich, and that it was to be exercised after the death of the Bishops. He says in reply: "It can hardly be imagined that those wise and good men should grant such a power: in that if they had had a mind in their life time to have closed the schism, this might have precluded them from doing it. But further, this power could not have been granted without an unanimous consent of all the deprived Bishops, in that if any one had stood out this would have rendered the grant invalid, because he might have insisted on his own right: now we have reason to think that Bishop Ken never concurred to the grant of such a power."[33]

Marshall doubts whether any notification was made of the appointment of suffragans, Hickes having stated, that it was sufficient to do so as occasion offered. He says he knew a lady, who earnestly desired one of these suffragans to notify his consecration on the death of Lloyd: as she had no other objection to their communion, than the want of Bishops, of which she had no proof. Marshall adds: "The suffragan had no reason to mistrust her secresy nor her fidelity to his interests, and a good deal of personal obligation to do all in his power for her satisfaction: and yet he suffered her to come over to us, for want of sufficient notification."[34] I do not, however, see the force of this reasoning: because it is clear that the lady wanted a public notification, which the suffragan was probably afraid to make. It will be seen, in a subsequent chapter, that Hickes did not conceal the matter.

A second letter was written by Brokesby, dated Nov. 18, 1710, to the same party. It appears that the individual had insisted on the right of the deprived Bishops to appoint successors. Brokesby takes up Dodwell's position, and contends that such a grant, if made, must be fully attested: and that then the question whether the deprived Bishops had such a power must be considered. It appears also, that during these discussions, the consecrations of Hickes and Wagstaffe were fully made known; or at all events they were pleaded in the letter to Brokesby. This is certain, since Brokesby thus argues:

"You make this grant a subsequent act to those persons being ordained suffragan Bishops, and to be a synodical decree of our deprived Fathers. Admitting the first, their being ordained: we insist on the proof of the subsequent grant, the enlargement of their power, and this over the whole Church of England. If it was a synodical determination, then let the Acta synodalia be produced, and this under the hands of the Bishops, who were members of the synod, according to the forms used in synods."[35] He afterwards adds: "Suppose our deprived Fathers had intended to convey such a power to those worthy suffragans, and agreed among themselves to do it: if they did not by some formal act convey it, no such power accrues to them, neither can they, by virtue of such an intention, challenge any jurisdiction."[36] Brokesby therefore urges the production of the grant before its legality be discussed. Another letter was written by Brokesby in 1712; but he only re-asserts his previous arguments. It does not appear that any grant, by which Hickes and Wagstaffe were authorized to act as diocesan Bishops, was produced: though had such been the case, it would have been of no avail, as the deprived Bishops possessed no such power. This point was discussed by Dodwell in another work, which I shall presently notice.

Granting that the deprived Bishops had the power to appoint suffragans: it must be admitted, that they could not appoint them as their successors. A suffragan acted only by commission: and that commission was always dissolved by the death of the diocesan. "I may have leave to ask," says Marshall, "what authority a suffragan hath, independent on the commission, whereby he acts: and when the relation is dissolved between him and the person who so commissioned him?"[37]

It will be seen from the foregoing extracts, that Dodwell and his friends were not privy to the consecrations of Hickes and Wagstaffe: and further, that they did not admit, that the deprived Bishops could do more than appoint suffragans to act during their own lives. His views were fully stated in his "Case in View" and the "Further Prospect:" and therefore, after Lloyd's death and Ken's resignation, he communicated with the National Church. Being exceedingly anxious to put an end to the schism, he published "The Case in View now in Fact."[38]

This is a very important work in the controversy. To this period every Churchman must deeply sympathize with the Nonjurors. Our sympathies, however, cannot be of the same character with the later Nonjurors, who continued the separation on principles, which were repudiated by such men as Ken, Frampton, Dodwell, Nelson, and Brokesby.

Dodwell now charges the schism on those, who continued the separation from the National Church. At the head of this party was Hickes, who was supported by many men of great talents. "The Case in View now in Fact" was intended for those, who continued the separation. Dodwell laments, that "they are striving their excellent wits to find new pretences every day for continuing the new schism, as conscious that the only justifiable reason has indeed failed them, and yet unwilling to unite with their old friends and fellow communicants." He even fears that the divisions may "end in Atheism or Popery."[39] "They cannot," he says, "continue their separation without commencing a new schism, to be imputed to themselves against the whole Church of England, which is now united against them, and is indeed the Church which is opposed by their separation. And the orders, which we suppose the Bishops we are speaking of to have derived from our deceased constant Fathers, now with God, can give them no more authority than what was lodged in our Fathers, from whom they are supposed to have received it. But those Fathers also had been schismaticks, if they had erected altars in full sees."[40] The rights of the deprived Bishops were extinguished with their lives: and they could not appoint Bishops to succeed them in their dioceses.

He alludes further to the prayers for the Sovereign, and his view is, that those who join in them are only guilty of what he terms a sinful fact, not of heresy in doctrine. He admits that they are to refuse their assent to those prayers.[41]

In this work Dodwell argued, that the deprived Bishops would have appointed successors in some of their sees, if they had intended to continue the schism after their decease: but in the Appendix he contends, that no such right or power belonged to them. Such substitutes, he says, would fall short of the title of their predecessors, a circumstance which he regards as favourable to the actual possessors of the sees. Such substitutes, he argued, would want several things which the deprived Bishops possessed. The Bishop was consecrated by the Provincial College into a vacant see, which could not have been the case with the substitute. He considered that there were then no altars capable of being injured by other altars, except those of the possessors, which could not be invaded without schism. The Bishops themselves, he says, would have been schismatics, if they had consecrated into full sees: and consequently, they could not convey powers to others, which could not have been exercised by themselves. He shews, that the separation arose in consequence of injury done to the deprived Bishops; that its continuance after the death of the last of them was no assertion of their rights; and that the injury being ended, another cause must be sought, if the separation must be continued. No persons could be injured except the actual possessors; so that the separatists would be the authors of the injury, and therefore schismatics. Another argument was forcibly put, namely, that the deprived Bishops could not acquire new rights by their deprivation; and that, without new powers, they could not appoint others to succeed them after their own death. He concludes:

"The sum of what has been said is this: there can be no schism by contagion, where there is no principal schismatick: the death of the last survivor of our late invalidly deprived Fathers made the rival of that same survivor no longer a schismatick, by making his occupyed possession a vacancy, which was all that he wanted before for making his occupyed possession perfectly canonical. That death therefore put an end to the last principal schismatick, as a schismatick, as well as to the last invalidly deprived survivor. All the diocesan districts of our National Church are fairly and canonically possessed. Nor could such canonically-possessed districts be invaded by any of our late invalidly-deprived Fathers, or all of them, though synodically assembled, without commencing a new schism from the time of that invasion. What they could not validly, nor without schism, act in their own persons, that they could not authorize others to act in their name. If those Fathers themselves might be allowed such a liberty of invading occupyed districts, they must necessarily have acquired new powers by their invalid deprivations. These things therefore being so, no commissions for powers derived from our late Fathers can excuse the present continuance of the separation from being schismatical."[42]

In Dodwell's opinion they were not called upon to inquire, whether there were any commissions from the deprived Bishops, nor whether they were authentically attested, nor whether they were publicly notified. If the facts are true, he argues, they are of no avail, if the deprived Bishops had no right to convey such powers to others as would legitimate a separation. "All would not suffice for giving others a right to powers, that ceased to be their own at the time, when the persons were to exercise the powers so conveyed to them. Till our friends can first answer these reasons satisfactorily, it will be in vain to produce or insist on such evidences of facts, if they be pleased to consider how little they could thereby advance their cause, though they should answer the expectation that even themselves might raise of them, as to the proof of the facts pleaded by them."[43]

The same year in which "The Case in View now in Fact" was published, the year 1711, Dodwell died. On the 6th of June he heard evening prayers in his room, and died shortly after four o'clock on the morning of the seventh.[44] The writer of his Life was summoned to his room at one o'clock in the morning, when it was evident that he was dying. His ejaculations were such as these, "Lord Jesus, have mercy on me: Lord, lift up the light of thy countenance upon me." Shortly before, he had received the Holy Eucharist in the parish church. He was buried in the chancel of Shottesbrooke church, his grave being marked by an inscription on a plain stone. He had arrived at the age of seventy years.[45]

After the death of this eminent man, Gandy, who with Hickes was strenuous for continuing the separation, published a reply to "The Case in View now in Fact."[46] We are informed in the Preface, that it was finished at the time of Dodwell's death. This is stated by Gandy, lest any of Dodwell's new friends should say, that no one could answer him in his lifetime.

Gandy's book is in the form of a dialogue: and in order to lessen Dodwell's reputation, the speakers commence with an allusion to his work on the soul, in which some singular views are promulgated. One of the speakers professes to follow Dodwell in his arguments on this subject: the other argues, that his opinions were erroneous, and that, therefore, such a man could not be trusted. He is, in short, treated most disingenuously by Gandy, whose aim evidently was to induce the belief, that because Dodwell may have been in error on some points not fundamental, he was not to be trusted in any. Afterwards he unsuccessfully endeavours to prove, that Dodwell had contradicted himself. For this purpose he quotes from the "Vindication of the deprived Bishops:" but there is not a passage in that work, which is not reconcileable with his views at the period of his return to the National Church. Dodwell's arguments against the continuance of the separation are considered by Gandy, who conceived, that the reasons for its continuance were as strong as they were for its commencement.

Another work appeared also against The Case in View. It is without date: but the internal evidence proves, that it was published after Dodwell's death.[47] The author quotes Gandy's work, a circumstance which must be regarded as conclusive as to the date of its publication. He commences with the assertion, that a schism can never be closed on Mr. Dodwell's principles. He also argues, that no powers could be given in schism, and consequently, that the possessors of the sees were not true Bishops. In short, several very influential individuals were resolved to continue the separation by means of Hickes and Wagstaffe, who had been consecrated to the episcopal office by some of the deprived Bishops, as has been shewn in a preceding Chapter.


  1. Macpherson.
  2. Life of the Duke of Ormonde, 1747. p. 118.
  3. Rose's Observations on Fox's History, Int. xxx.
  4. Life of Bolingbroke, p. 70.
  5. Bowles's Ken, ii. 242.
  6. Bowles's Ken, ii. 249—253, 256.
  7. Ibid. 263. D'Oyley's Sancroft, i. 448. Ken thus gave utterance to his feelings in verse:

    But that which most of all my eye-lids drain'd,
    My lambs, my sheep, were by their wanderings baned:
    They broke from Catholic, and hallow'd bounds,
    And for the wholsome chose th' impoison'd grounds,
    Contracting latitudinarian taint,
    In faith, in morals, suffering no restraint.

    In allusion to the answer to his prayers, he says:

    But I adore benignity Divine,
    Who did to hear my worthless cares incline,
    And while I mourn'd for the tremendous stroke,
    Which freed my flock from uncanonic yoke,
    Heaven, my Lord, supereffluently kind,
    In you sent a successor to my mind.

    Elsewhere he alludes to the same subject:

    Forc'd from my flock I daily saw, with tears,
    A stranger's ravage two sabbatic years:
    But I forbear to tell the dreadful stroke,
    Which freed my sheep from their Erastian yoke.

    By the two sabbatic years, Ken alludes to the period, fourteen years, of Kidder's occupancy of the see. Biog. Brit. Art. Ken.

  8. A Case in View considered: in a Discourse proving that (in case our present invalidly deprived Fathers shall leave all their Sees vacant, either by Death or Resignation) we shall not then be obliged to keep up our Separation from those Bishops who are as yet involved in the Guilt of the present unhappy Schism. By Henry Dodwell, M.A. London, 8vo. 1705.
  9. Dodwell's Case in View, pp, 1, 2, 3.
  10. Case in View, p. 4.
  11. Ibid. p. 21.
  12. Ibid. p. 27, 28.
  13. Case in View, &c. p. 47.
  14. Ibid. p. 53.
  15. Case in View, pp. 62, 63. Many severe reflections were cast upon the Nonjurors, as if they were determined to overturn the government. The great majority, however, had no such desire. They merely wished to live quietly under the government. The case is well put in the following extract: "If it be said that this negative contains something positive, and implies malice and enmity against the government, I answer, this is their construction, not ours: why may it not imply as well tenderness of mind and conscience towards God? Or why may it not imply a disability to wind ourselves out of our former principles? Charity would think one of these. 'Tis hard that they will judge of our thoughts, but 'tis harder yet to fasten an arbitrary sense of them, and then to punish that sense of their own imposing, which is to punish not our thoughts, but their own, nay 'tis to punish us for their thoughts." The Present State of Jacobinism in England. A Second Part in Answer to the First, 4to. London, 1702, p. 10.
  16. Dodwell's Life, 277, 300.
  17. Life of Kettlewell, 127, 128.
  18. A Further Prospect of the Case in View, in Answer to some New Objections not there Considered. 8vo. London 1707, p. 10.
  19. Ibid. p. 19.
  20. Further Prospect, &c. pp. 19, 20.
  21. Ibid. pp. 23, 24.
  22. Further Prospect, &c. 111.
  23. Marshall's Defence, 165, 166. Calamy's Own Times, ii. 119.
  24. Marshall's Defence of our Constitution in Church and State, &c. Appendix No. III.
  25. Marshall, App. No. IV.
  26. Marshall, App. No. V.
  27. Ibid. App. No. VI. It seems that the Archbishop of York was instrumental in bringing back Nelson. On the 27th of January 1709, the Archbishop records, in his Diary, a notice to this effect, that Nelson was considering the subject: and on the 15th of February he records the fact itself. Nelson received the Sacrament from the hands of the Archbishop on Easter Day following. Life of Archbishop Sharpe, ii. 31, 32, 33.
  28. Constitution of the Catholic Church. 8vo. 1716. P. 227.
  29. Marshall's Defence, App. No. VII.
  30. Marshall, App. No. VIII.
  31. Marshall, App. No. IX.
  32. Marshall, App. No. X. p. 41.
  33. Marshall, App. No. X. p. 41.
  34. Marshall, 176, 177.
  35. Marshall, p. 45.
  36. Ibid. p. 46.
  37. Marshall's Defence, 173.
  38. The Case in View now in Fact; proving the Continuance of a Separate Communion, without Substitutes in any of the late invalidly-deprived Sees, since the Death of William, late Lord Bishop of Norwich, is Schismatical. With an Appendix, proving that our late invalidly-deprived Fathers had no right to substitute Successors, who might legitimate the Separation, after that the Schism had been concluded by the Decease of the last Survivor of those same Fathers. By the Author of The Case in View. 8vo. London 1711.
  39. The Case in View now in Fact, p. 3.
  40. Ibid, p. 29.
  41. Case in View now in Fact, p. 115.
  42. Case in View now in Fact. Appendix, pp. 47, 48.
  43. Appendix to Case in View now in Fact, p. 49.
  44. Dodwell's Life, 542.
  45. Ibid. 549, 550.
  46. A Conference between Gerontius and Junius. In which Mr. Dodwell's Case in View now in Fact is Considered. Svo. London, 1711.
  47. Mr. Dodwell's Case in View Thoroughly Considered. Or the Case of Lay-Deprivations and Independency of the Church (in Spirituals) set in a True Light. By a Presbyter of the Church of England.
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