ePub 版


mining people's title to their lands at the council-table, and stopping proceedings at law, &c. The earl had made himself obnoxious at court by his magisterial carriage to the king, and was grown very unpopular by his superb and magnificent palace at St. James's, erected in the time of war and pestilence, which cost him 50,000l.+ Some called it Dunkirk-house, as being built with his share of the price of that fortress; and others Holland-house, as if he had received money from the king's enemies in time of war. The king's second marriage, which proved barren, was laid to his charge, and said to be contrived for the advancement of his grandchildren by the duchess of York, who was the earl's daughter. When his majesty inclined to part with his queen, and if possible to legitimate his addresses to Miss Steward, the chancellor got her married privately to the duke of Richmond, without the king's knowledge, which his majesty was told was to secure the succession of the crown to his own family. This intriguing, together with his high opposition to the Roman Catholics, and to all who were not of his principles, procured him many enemies, and struck him quite out of the king's favour. The earl did not think fit to abide the storm, but withdrew to France, leaving a paper behind him, in which he denies almost every article of his charge; but the parliament voted his defence scandalous, and ordered it to burnt by the hands of the common hangman. December 18, his lordship was banished the king's dominions for life by act of parliament; he spent the remaining seven years of his life at Rouen in Normandy, among Papists and Presbyterians, whom he would hardly suffer to live in his own country, and employed the chief of his time in writing the History of the Grand Rebellion §, which is in every one's hands.

Burnet, p. 365. 369, 370.

Mr. Echard says, that this palace was built in the absence of the chancellor, principally at the expense of the Vintner's company; and that when he came to see the case of it, he rather submitted than consented, and with a sigh said, “This house will one day be my ruin." Grey's Examination, vol. 3. p. 352, note. The doctor fills two pages here, with quoting lord Clarendon's vindication of himself. -ED.

The articles of the charge stated by Mr. Neal were, if you credit Dr. Welwood, the ostensible causes only of the chancellor's fall. The true reason why he was abandoned to his enemies was, that he secretly opposed the design of the parliament to settle such a revenue upon the king during life as would place him beyond the necessity of asking more, except on some extraordinary occasion: and he drew the earl of Southampton into his views, urging that he knew the king so well, that if such a revenue were once settled upon him for life, neither of them two would be of any farther use; and there would be no probability of seeing many more sessions of parliament during that reign. This came to the king's ears. Memoirs, p. 109, 110, sixth edition. Lord Cornbury, in a letter to the Duke of Ormond preserved by Carte, said that his father never stirred as long as he saw any probability of being brought to his trial in parliament, though all his friends persuaded him to leave the kingdom, fearing that his innocence would not protect him against the malice of his enemies. When he found that there was a design to prorogue the parliament on purpose to try him by a jury of peers, by which means he might fall into the hands of the protesting lords, he resolved to avail himself of an opportunity of going over to Calais. Grey's Examination, vol. 3. p. 355, 356. -ED.

§ He also read over Livy and Tacitus, and almost all Tully's works; and " was

The earl of Clarendon was a Protestant of Laudean principles in church and state, and at the head of all the penal laws against the Nonconformists to this time. Bishop Burnet says, "He was a good chancellor†, but a little too rough; that he meddled too much in foreign affairs, which he never understood well: that he had too much levity in his wit, and did not observe the decorum of his post." Mr. Rapin adds‡, "that from him came all the blows aimed at the Nonconformists since the beginning of this reign. His immoderate passion against Presbyterianism was this great man's foible. He gloried in his hatred of that people; and, perhaps, contributed more than any other person to that excess of animosity which subsists against them at this day among the followers of his maxims and principles." Mr. Echard says, "His removal was a great satisfaction to the dissenters (directly contrary to Mr. Baxter); who observes a remarkable providence of God, that he who had dealt so cruelly by the Nonconformists should be banished by his own friends, while the others, whom he had persecuted, were most moderate in his case, and many of them for him. It was a great ease that befel good men by his fall (says he), for his way was to decoy men into conspiracies, or pretended plots, and upon those rumours innocent people were laid in prison, so that no man knew when he was safe; whereas since his time, though the laws have been made more severe, yet men are more safe§." His lordship was undoubtedly a person of very considerable abilities, which have been sufficiently celebrated by his admirers, but I have not been able to discover any great or generous exploits for the service of the public; and how far his conduct with regard to the Nonconformists was consistent with humanity, religion, or honour, must be left with the reader.

a much greater, perhaps a happier, man alone and in exile (says Mr. Granger), than Charles II. upon his throne." History of England, vol. 3. p. 360; and vol. 4. p. 64, note.-ED.

* Page 33.

Dr. Grey gives bishop Burnet's character of the lord-chancellor more at length; and prefixes another character of his lordship drawn by the pen of Mr. Carte, to "obviate (as he expresses himself) the ill-natured reflection cast upon him by Mr. Neal; because he adhered to the interest of his king and country, and would not give up the church established into the hands of unreasonable fanatics."-ED.

+ A domestic incident, related by bishop Burnet, is supposed to have fixed and heightened the chancellor's zeal for the constitutional liberties of his country, in civil matters. On a visit which he paid to his father, a gentleman of Wiltshire, when he began to grow eminent in his profession, as they were walking one day in a field, his father observed to him, “that men of his profession did often stretch law and prerogative to the prejudice of the liberty of the subject, to recommend and advance themselves;" and charged him, that he should "never sacrifice the laws and liberties of his country to his own interest, or to the will of a prince." He repeated this twice; and immediately fell into a fit of apoplexy, of which he died in a few hours. Burnet's History of his Own Times, vol. 1. p. 231.

Vol. 2. p. 650, folio ed.

§ Baxter, part 3. p. 20, 21.




UPON the fall of the earl of Clarendon, the discourse of a toleration began to revive: the king in his speech to his parliament, February 10, has this passage: "One thing more I hold myself obliged to recommend to you at this present, that is, that you would seriously think of some course to beget a better union and composure in the minds of my Protestant subjects in matters of religion, whereby they may be induced not only to submit quietly to the government, but also cheerfully give their assistance to the support of it." Sundry pamphlets were published upon this head; and the duke of Buckingham being now prime-minister, the Nonconformists about London were connived at, and people went openly and boldly to their meetings.

But the house of commons, who were yet influenced by the pernicious maxims of the late chancellor, petitioned the king to issue out his proclamation, for enforcing the laws against conventicles, and for preserving the peace of the kingdom, against unlawful assemblies of Papists and Nonconformists. Accordingly, his majesty issued out his proclamation, that "upon consideration of the late petition, and upon information that divers persons in several parts of the realm (abusing his clemency, even while it was under consideration to find out a way for the better union of his Protestant subjects), have of late frequently and openly, in great numbers, and to the great disturbance of the peace, held unlawful assemblies and conventicles, his majesty declares, that he will not suffer such notorious contempt of the laws to go unpunished, but requires, charges, and commands, all officers to be circumspect and vigilant in their several jurisdictions, to enforce and put the laws in execution against unlawful conventicles, commanding them to take particular care to preserve the peace."

The sufferings of the dissenters began to excite compassion in the minds of the people, insomuch that their numbers visibly increased, partly through the indulgence of the court, and the want of churches since the fire of London, and partly through the poverty of the common people, who having little to lose, ventured to go publicly to meetings in defiance of the laws. The indolence of the established clergy, and the diligence of the Nonconformist ministers, contributed very much to the increase of Nonconformists. Bishop Burnet says, "The king was highly offended at the behaviour of most of the bishops; archbishop Sheldon and Morley, who kept close by lord Clarendon, the great patron of + Vol. 1. p. 371. 379.

*Calamy's Abridgment, vol. 1. p. 316.

persecuting power, lost the king's favour; the former never recovered it, and the latter was sent from court into his diocess. When complaint was made of some disorders and conventicles, the king said the clergy were chiefly to blame, for if they had lived well, and gone about their parishes, and taken pains to convince the Nonconformists, the nation might have been well settled, but they thought of nothing but to get good benefices, and keep a good table." In another conversation with the bishop, about the ill state of the church *, his majesty said, "If the clergy had done their parts, it had been easy to run down the Nonconformists, but they will do nothing (says the king), and will have me do every thing; and most of them do worse than if they did nothing. I have a very honest chaplain (says he), to whom I have given a living in Suffolk, but he is a very great blockhead, and yet has brought all his parish to church; I cannot imagine what he could say to them, for he is a very silly fellow; but he has been about from house to house, and I suppose his nonsense has suited their nonsense; and in reward of his diligence I have given him a bishoprick in Ireland." About this time Ralph Wallis, a cobbler of Gloucester, published an account of a great number of scandalous Conformist ministers, and enumerated their scandals, to the great displeasure of the clergy; and I fear, says Mr. Baxtert, to the temptation of many Nonconformists, who might be glad of any thing to humble the Prelatists.

The learned Dr. Lazarus Seaman, the ejected minister of Allhallows, Bread-street, died this year, of whom we have given some account among the Cambridge professors; he was educated in Emanuel-college, and by his indefatigable industry rose to high reputation in the learned world for his exact acquaintance with the oriental languages; he was an able divine, an active member of the assembly at Westminster, and was taken notice of by king Charles I. at the treaty of the Isle of Wight, for his singular abilities in the debates about church-government. He was also master of Peter-house, Cambridge, but lost all at the Restoration; he underwent strong pains with admirable patience, and at length died in peace in the month of September 1667 §.

Mr. George Hughes, B. D. the ejected minister of Plymouth, born in Southwark ||, and educated in Corpus-Christi college, in Cambridge. He was called to a lecture in London, but was silenced for nonconformity by archbishop Laud. After some time he went to Tavistock, and last of all settled at Plymouth, having institution and induction from Dr. Brownrigge, bishop of Exeter, in the year 1644. Here he continued till the year 1662, whence

Page 380.

+ Life, part 3. p. 23.

Calamy, vol. 2. p. 17; and Palmer's Nonconformists' Memorial, vol. 2. p. 76. He left a very valuable library, which yielded 7007. and was the first sold by auction in England.-ED.

In 1603, when his mother, who had never had a child before, though she was now married to her fourth husband, was fifty-two years of age. She lived to her ninety-sixth year.-ED.

he was ejected a week before the act of uniformity took place. He was afterward imprisoned in St. Nicholas island, where he contracted an incurable scurvy and dropsy, which at length put an end to his life. He was well read in the fathers, an acute disputant, a most faithful pastor to a large flock under his care, and a most holy, pious, and exemplary Christian. He had the greatest interest and influence of any minister in the west country, and refused a rich bishoprick at the Restoration. He was both charitable and hospitable when it was in his power, and died at length in a most heavenly manner, in the month of July 1667, and in the sixty-fourth year of his age. The reverend Mr. John Howe, his son-in-law, composed a Latin epitaph for him, which is inscribed on his tomb *.

The kingdom was at this time full of factions and discontents, arising from the late calamities of fire and plague, as well as the burden of the Dutch war; trade was at a stand, and great numbers of his majesty's subjects were both dispirited and impoverished by the penal laws; but that which struck all considerate men with a panic, was the danger of the Protestant interest, and the liberties of Europe, from the formidable progress of the French armies, which this very summer overrun the Spanish Flanders, and took the strong towns of Charleroy, Bergues, Ath, Douay, Tournay, Audenard, Lisle, Courtray, Furnes, &c. which, with their dependencies, were yielded in full sovereignty to France by the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. The English court seemed unconcerned at the French conquests, till they were awakened by the clamours of the whole nation; upon this sir William Temple was sent into Holland, who in a few weeks concluded a triple alliance between England, Holland, and Sweden, which strengthened the Protestant interest while it subsisted; but the French mistresses and money could dissolve the strongest bonds.

In this critical situation of affairs abroad, some attempts were made to quiet the minds of his majesty's Protestant subjects at home, for men began to think it high time for Protestants to put a stop to the pulling down their neighbours' houses, when the common enemy was threatening the destruction of them all; therefore lord-keeper Bridgman, lord-chief-justice Hales, bishop Wilkins, Reynolds, Dr. Burton, Tillotson, Stillingfleet, and others, set on foot a comprehension of such as could be brought into the church by some abatements, and a toleration for the rest. But the project was blasted by the court-bishops, and lord Clarendon's friends, who took the alarm, and raised a mighty outery of the danger of the churcht. Nobody (say they) knows where the demands of the Presbyterians will end; the cause of the hierarchy will be given up, if any of those points are yielded which have been so much contested; besides, it is unworthy of the church to

* Calamy, vol. 2. p. 222; or Palmer's Nonconformists' Memorial, vol. 1. p. 387. Burnet, vol. 1. p. 380, &c.

« 上一頁繼續 »