of this work no doubt led the author to proceed with the more elaborate ‘History of Sacrilege,’ which he had already projected. In the preface to the reader, ‘De non temerandis Ecclesiis’ (ed. 1613), he says in reference to the larger undertaking: ‘I have thought it not unfit upon some encouragement to sende this forth (like a Pinnesse or poste of Advise) to make a discovery of the coast before I adventure my greater ship.’ He was collecting materials for his ‘History of Sacrilege’ up to 1633. But it was not printed in its author's lifetime; it was published for the first time by an unknown editor in 1698.
Meanwhile Spelman resolved to concentrate his energies on a great work on the bases of English law to be deduced from original records (ib. ii. 439). But at the outset of his researches he experienced so much difficulty in assigning the proper meanings to Anglo-Saxon and Latin terms that he determined to postpone his legal researches until he had compiled a glossary of law terms. He had already prepared in 1614, for the Society of Antiquaries, ‘a discourse touching the antiquity and etymology of law terms and times for the administration of justice in England.’ But the society was suppressed before this paper was read, and it was not published till 1684 (Hearne, Antiquarian Discourses, ii. 331). Pursuing his scheme of a full glossary, he submitted sample sheets to eminent foreign scholars in September 1619, and, on securing their approbation, proceeded with the work (Peiresc to Spelman, Addit. MS. 25384). The deaths of his wife and of a son in 1620 did not impede his progress, but while working on the ‘Glossary’ he found time in October 1621 to prepare a formal opinion on the question whether the accidental killing of a park-keeper by Archbishop Abbot rendered him incapable of performing archiepiscopal functions. He affirmed the archbishop's irregularity, and insisted on the necessity of an extraordinary form of new consecration. This expression of opinion did not affect his friendly relations with the archbishop (Preface to Concilia). At length in 1626 the first volume of the ‘Glossary,’ extending to the end of the letter ‘L,’ was published. Spelman had offered it in vain to Beale, the king's printer, for 5l., or for books of that value. He consequently bore all the expenses of publication. The importance of the volume was immediately recognised by the great scholars of the day (Ussher to Spelman, 2 April 1628, Addit. MS. 25384, f. 8), but the greater part of the edition remained on Spelman's hands for ten years. He was collecting materials for the completion of the work until 1638. The second and concluding volume appeared posthumously in 1664.
With his scholarly studies Spelman combined some active interest in practical affairs. He had become a member of the council for New England shortly after its foundation on 23 July 1620 (Harard, i. 99), and took a prominent part in the control of the company from this period up to the resignation of their charter in 1635. He drew their patents, and performed other legal work arising out of their struggle with the Virginia Company (Cal. State Papers, Colonial, 12 July 1622, 28 Jan. 1623, 25 March 1623, 29 June 1632, 25 April 1635). He was also among the adventurers who, by patent, were erected into the Guiana Company, and on 8 June 1627 he was appointed treasurer (ib. 8 June 1627).
On 26 April 1625 Spelman was returned member for Worcester city to the first parliament of Charles I (Return of Members of Parliament), but he seems after a short time to have been succeeded in that position by his son John. He was no ardent politician. ‘I am no parliament man,’ he wrote on 26 May 1628 to Ussher. Although a devoted royalist, he appears to have sympathised with the promulgation of the Petition of Right, the main points in which he regarded as having been ‘seriously and unanswerably proved and concluded by the lower house’ (Life and Letters of James Ussher, ed. Parr, London, 1686). He was appointed on 8 May 1627 a member of a commission to inquire what offices existed, and what fees were taken, in 11 Eliz. (1569–70), and what fees had been imposed since. He was again appointed a member of two similar commissions, on 28 June 1627 (Cal. State Papers, Dom. June 1627) and in January 1630. His work ‘De Sepultura,’ which was not published till 1641, and which proved the existence of exorbitant exactions, embodied no doubt some of the experience he gained in this capacity.
Although, according to Sir Simonds D'Ewes, Spelman was in 1630 ‘now very aged and almost blind’ (Autobiogr. i. 455), he appears about this time to have undertaken his compilation of the ‘Councils, Decrees, Laws, and Constitutions of the English Church,’ the first volume of which, up to 1066, occupied him seven years (Wood, Athenæ, ed. Bliss, iii. 671). In carrying out this most important work he was assisted by Jeremiah Stephens [q. v.] and by his son John Spelman. Other scholars also gave generous assistance, and Abbot, Laud, and Ussher all regarded the work favourably. The first volume appeared in 1639. Although it omitted