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BETH.

odd letter to

Bancroft's

יל

To return to the English Nonconformists,who, it was thought, ELIZAintended not to continue passive under their disappointments. It was suspected, and not altogether without cause, that some of these men designed to rescue their brethren from confinement: Wiggington's letter to one Porter at Lancaster, looks towards this meaning, and seems to menace the government. His words are these :

“ Master Cartwright is in the Fleet, for refusal of the oath, Wiggington's (as I hear) and master Knewstubbs is sent for, and sundry Porter. worthy ministers are disquieted, who have been spared long. So that we look for some bickering ere long, and then a battle, which cannot long endure."

That there was an expectation of some bold push, may be Dangerous conjectured from a letter written by a Scotch gentleman to his book 4, friend in England. “I attend,” says he, “ your next answer, Another as well of the estate of your Church, as of all other affairs. For from Scot

land upon the there is here great word of sundry uproars, which I trust be same subject. false, or repressed in due season by her majesty.” That some attempt upon the State was concerted, appears farther by letters and papers found upon Hacket, Coppingher, and Arthington : but of this by and by.

At present I shall proceed to mention the application made by the Presbyterians to the king of Scots. Some of the most eminent of the party solicited this prince to write to queen Elizabeth for gentle usage. They procured two letters for this purpose: the last was directed to one Johnson, a Scotch merchant in London: this gentleman delivered it to the queen, who, having read it, laid it before the council. I shall give it the reader in the king's words :

יל

Scots' letter

Right excellent, high and mighty princess, our dearest The king of sister and cousin, in our heartiest manner, we recommend us unto you. Hearing of the apprehension of Mr. U dall and Mr. Elizabeth in

behalf of the Cartwright, and certain other ministers of the evangel within English your realm ; of whose good erudition and faithful travels in the formists

. Church we have a very credible commendation, howsoever, June 12, that their diversity from the bishops, and others of your clergy, in matters touching them in conscience, hath been a mean by their delation, to work them your misliking ; at this present we cannot (weighing the duty which we owe to such as are afflicted for their conscience in that profession) but by our

.

WHIT- most effectuous and earnest letter interpone us at your hands

GIFT, Abp. Cant. to stay any harder usage of them for that cause. Requesting

you most earnestly, that for our cause and intercession it may please you to let them be relieved of their present strait, and whatsoever farther accusation, or pursuit depending on that ground, respecting both their former merit, in setting forth the evangel, the simplicity of their conscience in this defence, which cannot well be, their let by compulsion, and the great slander which could not fail to fall out upon their farther straitening for any such occasion. Which we assure us your zeal to religion, besides the expectation we have of your good will to pleasure us, will willingly accord to our request, having such proof from time to time of our like disposition to you in any matters which you recommend unto us; and thus right excellent, right high and mighty princess, our dear sister and cousin, we commit you to God's protection'.

Edinburgh, June the 12th, 1591."

66

mission.

The queen looking upon this letter as extorted from the king by the importunity of the Kirk, rather than proceeding

from his own inclination, took little notice of it. Cartwright To go back a little to the farther prosecution of the Dissensecond time ters. In May, this summer, Cartwright was brought from the before the

Fleet to London-house, before several of the ecclesiastical comHigh Com

missioners. And here bishop Ailmer charged him with three things. First, that he petitioned the council for liberty upon false suggestions, counterfeiting diseases with which he was not troubled. Secondly, That he had misreported the oath tendered him to the council. And, Thirdly, That he had several times owned, that a man who lived up to the ceremonies and discipline of the Church of England might be saved; from whence the bishop inferred the insignificancy of a farther reformation. When Ailmer had done, Cartwright began to speak, but was stopped by sir John Popham, attorney-general. This gentleman suggested how dangerous a thing it was for

men to be governed by their own singularities, and pretend The lawful- conscience for disobedience to the constitution. That the oath ness of the oath for an

to answer interrogatories was warranted by the laws and an

1 The pedantic obscurity of James's style of writing is particularly observable in the letter above quoted.

ELIZA-
BETH.

cient usages of the kingdom : that he had two things to urge against Mr. Cartwright; one was the breach of the public peace by unlawful meetings, and regulations for discipline. The fererinatorinother was an offence against the justice of the realm, by refus- maintained ing the oath now tendered: that this oath was offered in other general

Popham. courts ; neither did he believe any persons learned in the laws could think it unlawful.

Dr. Lewin, a civilian, and another of the commissioners, told Cartwright he was much mistaken in calling it an oath ex officio: for that the tendering the oath was enjoined by the queen's commission. And here Dr. Bancroft observed, that the methods of this court had not been always exactly the same; and that, in some commissions, the clause of examining upon oath had been omitted. The bishop disagreed with the doctor upon this point. He had been a commissioner thirty years, and vouched the practice of inserting the oath for all that time. Bancroft told Cartwright he had taken this oath twenty years since, and asked him which way the course of time could work upon the matter of this test, and make that unlawful which was lawful before. To this Cartwright returned, that he then took the oath with an express reservation, and besides, that he was now farther informed in the point. Bancroft insisted, that every person that had done an injury, was obliged to make an acknowledgment, and give satisfaction; and that this reason would still hold stronger from the subject to the prince. Cartwright replied, that this general rule must come under some exceptions : and an instance being demanded, he argued, that if he had reported any thing to the disadvan- 630. tage of a third person, who knew nothing of it; in this case it was not agreeable to the rule of charity to relate what had passed to the injured person. His reason was, because such a confession would probably break friendship which would otherways have continued: but I shall leave this casuistry to the reader. To proceed: Bancroft objected to Cartwright, that none could be received into their conferences, or meetings, without subscribing a submission to all orders prescribed by the governing part : and that if the interpretation of a text of Scripture was thus determined, none of their communion had the liberty of going off from it: and that their proceeding in this manner was matter of fact, was affirmed by the deposition of three or four witnesses. As to the requiring

Ailmer.

WHIT- subscriptions from those admitted, much less such subscripAbp. Cant. tions as Bancroft mentioned, Cartwright declared, that neither

himself, nor any he knew of, had done any such thing. Bancroft Lastly, Bancroft objected the dangerous reserves in the Disobjects the danger to the senters' discipline; that they designed to drive over the laws, government and force their reformation upon the government. For this by setting up the discipline. jealousy he brings instances from some of the English refugees

at Geneva, from the French Hugonots, from Calvin and Knox.

To this Cartwright returns a lame answer, and overlooks Strype's Life matter of fact. But for this I shall refer the reader to what of Bishop

has been already related.

And now it may not be improper to give a more particular account of the articles charged upon the non-conforming ministers in prison. The ecclesiastical commissioners having spent some time in examining witnesses, and other preparatory business, referred the farther prosecution to the lords of the Star-chamber. And here an information was preferred against

the Dissenters by the attorney-general. The complaint suggests, A bill pre- “ that some seditious people had formed a government of the tered in the Church, consisting of doctors, pastors, elders, deacons, and such ber against like. That a new form of Common Prayer, and administration conforming of the sacraments and Church discipline, comprised in a book

entitled, “Disciplina ecclesiæ sacra, Dei verbo descripta,” had been lately set forth, together with other books and pamphlets of a resembling nature. That the defendants had unlawfully and seditiously assembled themselves together concerning the premises. That in those assemblies they had treated of, and concluded upon sundry seditious articles in allowance of the same books, and of the matters therein contained. That in some of those assemblies, the defendants had subscribed those articles, and put part of them in execution : that for these misdemeanours they had been brought before the high commissioners, where they refused to take the oath for answering such interrogatories as were to be put to them on her majesty's behalf: that under pretence of discipline and charity, they claimed a power of intermeddling in all sorts of causes whatsoever: and that they had persuaded sundry of her majesty's subjects to refuse the taking an oath to answer to any matter that might concern the unlawful proceedings and doings of themselves, their brethren and teachers."

To go on with the narrative of this affair.

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“To the bill of complaint, the defendants, in their answer, ELIZAhave confessed their refusing to take the oath before the commissioners : and to the rest of the most material matters have made an evasive and insufficient answer. That this answer being referred by the court to the consideration of the chief justices, the chief baron, and Mr. justice Gawdy, these reverend judges marked the questions where their answers were short and unsatisfactory: that notwithstanding this resolution of the judges, their next answer was little less imperfect: that when interrogatories were afterwards put to them upon the parts of the bill, they declined making answer to the main The defendquestions : that the judges, at the instance of the court, to answer pointed out more distinctly the interrogatories which ought to several

, have been clearly and directly answered : that the defendants, June 23, notwithstanding being examined upon these interrogatories, refused to answer.”

The questions put to them were these :

1591.

“ Where the said assemblies were made, when, and how often? Who were at the same assemblies as well as themselves? What matters were treated of in the same assemblies? Who made or set forth, corrected or reformed, the said Book of Discipline, or any part thereof? Who subscribed, or submitted themselves to the same book, or the articles therein concluded, besides the said defendants? Whether, in a Christian monarchy, the king is to be accounted among the governors of the Church, or among those which are to be , governed by pastors, doctors, or such like?

" Whether, in a well-ordered Church, it is lawful for the sovereign prince to ordain orders and ceremonies appertaining to the Church? Whether ecclesiastical government established by her majesty's authority within the Church of England, be lawful, or allowed by the word of God? Whether the sacraments ministered within her majesty's dominions, as they be ordained by the Book of Common Prayer to be ministered, be godly and rightly ministered ?”

Idem.

The prosecutions of these ministers occasioned a farther consultation amongst some of the party, which way the prisoners might be assisted. But before any thing was either done for them by their friends, or against them by the Star

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