Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 36.djvu/251

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Marshall
Marshall
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the declaration issued by the assembly on 23 Dec. 1643, dissuading from the formation of independent churches, but acknowledging ‘whatever should appear to be the rights of particular congregations, according to the word.’ The parliamentary ‘committee of accommodation’ (appointed 13 Sept. 1644) chose him on a sub-committee (20 Sept.) of six divines to devise a modus vivendi between presbyterians and independents. Negotiations were suspended when the presbyterians demanded their own legal establishment as a preliminary to the question of according indulgence to others. The failure was not due to Marshall, who thought an accommodation possible in what Baillie calls ‘a middle way of his own.’ His presbyterianism was never sufficiently severe for the Scottish delegates.

Parliament appointed Marshall as one of the divines to wait on Laud in the interval (4–10 Jan. 1645) between his sentence and execution; he appears to have been present on the scaffold. The Uxbridge conference (30 Jan.–18 Feb.) he attended, not as a commissioner, but as an assistant to the parliamentary commissioners. He preached at Uxbridge to his party in the large room of their inn. By this time he had reached the point of contending, along with Henderson, for a presbyterian polity as jure divino; a claim which shattered the last hope of a compromise with episcopacy. On 7 July he delivered to the commons the draft of church government agreed upon by the Westminster assembly; on 16 July he was fortified with the assembly's letter, as his credential to Scotland; he was back by 22 Oct. On 9 Nov. the ‘committee of accommodation’ was revived, and held sittings till 9 March 1646, without reaching any agreement, the presbyterians complaining that the independents seemed to desire liberty of conscience not only ‘for themselves, but for all men.’

The commons on 14 March issued an ordinance directing the arrangement of presbyteries throughout the country by parliamentary commissioners. Marshall brought this before the assembly (20 March) as virtually ‘superseding the synod;’ the assembly's petition against the ordinance was presented by him (23 March); after long debate it was voted (11 April) a breach of privilege. The petition (presented 29 May) from three hundred ministers of Suffolk and Essex was evidently Marshall's work. On 6 June an ordinance directed the immediate settling ‘of the presbyterial government in the county of Essex.’ The settlement was completed by ordinance of 31 Jan. 1647. Finchingfield was placed in the tenth or Hinckford classis containing twenty-two parishes; the lay elders under the parliamentary presbyterianism (differing materially from the Scottish system) largely outnumbered the ministers in the classis; with Marshall and Letmale went four elders, including the patron.

Marshall had received on 9 April 1646 the thanks of the assembly for his book against the baptists; he invited the assembly to the public funeral (22 Oct.) of Essex in the name of the executors. He accompanied the parliamentary commissioners to Newcastle-on-Tyne in January 1647, along with Joseph Caryl [q. v.] Between February and July they acted as chaplains (receiving 500l. apiece) at Holmby House, Northamptonshire; Charles never attended the sermons, and (according to the anonymous ‘Life’) said grace himself and began his dinner, while Marshall was invoking a blessing at inordinate length. In public services Marshall sometimes prayed for two hours. With Tuckney and Ward of Ipswich he was appointed (19 Oct. 1647) to prepare the ‘shorter catechism.’ He was a third time in Scotland, with Charles Herle [q. v.], in February–March 1648. On 21 June 1648 he was placed on the Westminster assembly's committee for selecting the proof texts for the divine right of presbyterianism. This is the last mention of him in the assembly's minutes. In September–November he was again with the king in the Isle of Wight, taking part in the written discussion on episcopacy against the royalist divines.

L'Estrange ranks Marshall with justifiers of the execution of Charles, but has no proofs in point. As he did not belong to the London province, his name could not be appended to either of the presbyterian manifestos against the trial and sentence. But Giles Firmin [q. v.] says he was ‘so troubled about the king's death’ that on Sunday, 28 Jan. 1649, he interceded with the heads of the army, ‘and had it not been for one whom I will not name, who was very opposite and unmovable, he would have persuaded Cromwell to save the king. This is truth.’ With Caryl, Nye, and others he was employed in April 1649 in an unsuccessful endeavour to induce the secluded members to resume their places in parliament. In 1650 he made charitable benefactions, a ‘messuage and tenement’ with ‘Boyton meadow, containing three acres,’ yielding 40s. a year for ‘wood to the poor’ of Finchingfield; and ‘Great Wingey, a nominal manor’ for a lecture at Wethersfield. In 1651 he left Finchingfield to become town preacher at Ipswich, officiating in St. Mary's at the Quay. Late in 1653 he was one of the commissioners ap-