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ceive holy water, and come to confession.” Horrified by these abominations, the vice-president applied to the council for a special commission of Oyer and Terminer to try the offenders, which was granted to him; and as he had intimated, that one of the persons whom he had apprehended was unwilling give testimony against his associates in the crime of worshipping God according to the forms of their religion, the commissioners were authorized, “ according to their discretion, to cause to be used some kind of torture upon him, and others, who might imitate his obstinacy.” It is to be regretted, that Strype does not inform us of the result of this special commission; but the grounds of Whitgift's application, and the instructions of the council, prove, that at this period, in the Marches of Wales, Catholics were liable to torture, and to death, simply for the observances of their religion; for with nothing more are they charged in the confidential communications of the bishop with the higher powers.
Soon after his entrance upon his episcopal functions, Whitgift was obliged to defend a principal part of his revenues from a society of speculators, called Concealers, who had obtained from the queen a kind of roving commission to search for lands and possessions, which, by defect in their titles, might be forfeited to the crown. In this contest, the bishop came off victorious; and, about the same time, he obtained the disposal of the prebends of his cathedral church, which had hitherto been in the gift of the queen. In the year 1580, in consequence of the alarm spread through the kingdom, by the arrival of Campion and Parsons, and other Jesuits, from the foreign seminaries for the education of priests, he was busily employed in ascertaining the number of popish recusants within his diocese; and, at the same time, he was anxiously engaged in counteracting the efforts which were made by the Puritan party in the house of commons, to bring about a further reformation in the church. In the ensuing year, the estimation in which he was held by his superiors, was evinced by his being selected by the Archbishop of Canterbury to visit the diocese of Litchfield, where scandalous differences had taken place between the bishop, who seems to have been a man of very indifferent character, and the clergy of his cathedral. The difficult task of restoring order in this turbulent community, Whitgift seems to have executed with skill and prudence; and at his instance, his brother bishop, who had been suspended ab officio, was restored ; which proceeding, however, shewed that his lordship was more charitable to orthodox sinners than to heterodox saints. From Litchfield, his labours were transferred to Hereford, for the government of which diocese he drew up a new set of statutes.
It has already been mentioned, that Grindal, the Arch
kishop of Canterbury, had, for his resistance to the queen in the affair of Prophesyings, been suspended from exercising the functions of his office. So violent, indeed, was the resentment of Elizabeth against the refractory metropolitan, that she hreatened to depose him, and offered to bestow his office on Whitgift during his lifetime. But to the honour of Whitgift, be it recorded, that he had too much respect for the virtues of his reverend superior, to concur in so harsh a proceeding. The queen had, in this instance, the good sense to pay due deference to his right feelings; and on the death of Grindal, which took place July 6th, 1583, she raised him to the summit of ecclesiastical dignity. Whitgift shewed, indeed, a little coquetry on this occasion. He declared, that there were many others in the realm more worthy of this preferment than himself. “ Nevertheless,” says Strype, that he might not seem to resist the divine will, by the instinct of whose Holy Spirit he was persuaded he was called to this office, and not to resist the good pleasure of the queen's majesty, he yielded his consent and assent to the said election;" and was, accordingly, confirmed at Lambeth on the 23d of September.
Whitgift was no sooner seated on the archiepiscopal throne, than he found that he occupied a situation of anxiety as well as of honour. The Papists were numerous and restless in every part of the kingdom. The Non-conformists were also numerous, and active, and popular; and during the suspension of Grindal, and the decline of his faculties which preceded his death, the courtiers had taken advantage of the relaxation of ecclesiastical government in the see of Canterbury, to introduce nany persons of equivocal character, in point both of morals ind orthodoxy, into some of the most valuable livings in the hurch. The new metropolitan, however, regarded the perils vhich environed the ecclesiastical establishment with a steady ye, and drew tight the reins of discipline. Immediately on is accession, he sent forth articles for the regulation of church latters, in which, amongst other things, it is provided, that all preaching, reading, catechizing, and other such like excises in private places and families, whereunto others do sort, being not of the same family, be utterly extinguished, eing the same was never permitted as lawful under any oristian magistrate ; but is a manifest sign of schism, and a use of contention in the church.” It was also provided by e same instrument, that no one should be permitted to exise any spiritual function, unless he should subscribe twelve icles which were industriously framed by the archbishop, the purpose of silencing the non-conforming preachers. The blication of these new regulations excited great clamour, ch the archbishop heard with indifference; and proceeding
on his metropolitical visitation, in spite of the remonstrances which assailed him from various quarters, he suspended from their functions all ministers who, either in doctrine or discipline, varied a hair's breadth from the line of orthodoxy which he had distinctly drawn.
Though the archbishop thus laboured with the utmost diligence for the extirpation of schism, he appears not to have succeeded to his wish in this pious work; and, deeming his ordinary powers insufficient for this purpose, he solicited the council to issue an ecclesiastical commission, which being granted, he forthwith proceeded, in the true spirit of an inquisition, to frame certain interrogatories to be put to all ministers whom the commissioners, of which he was himself the head, might be pleased to summon. These severe measures against the Puritans excited the indignation of Beale, the clerk of the council, who had the boldness to write a remonstrance against them, which he presented to the archbishop in person ; and availed himself of every opportunity which presented itself, of vilifying his grace, as pushing matters to such an extremity as was likely to endanger the peace of the kingdom. The council, also, on the occasion of his suspending.certain ministers of the dioceses of Lincoln and Ely, wrote to him in their favour ; and the lord treasurer declared to him by letter, in express terms, that he found his interrogatories "so curiously penned, so full of branches and circumstances, as he thought the inquisitors of Spain used not so many questions to comprehend, and to trap their preys.” By this interposition, however, Whitgift was not daunted. In an elaborate reply to the lord treasurer, he vindicated his proceedings by a reference to the principles of ecclesiastical law, and by precedent; and maintained, that they were absolutely necessary for the detection of hypocrites, and for the effecting of uniformity in the church. Nay, though the council again remonstrated with him, stating, that whilst he had suspended from their cures divers zealous and learned preachers, “ they heard not of any proceedings against many others charged with drunkenness, filthiness of life, gaming at cards, haunting of ale-houses, and such like," he still maintained his ground, and refused in the least degree to abate the claims of the commission, or to mitigate the exercise of its powers. In this perseverance, however, he was supported, not only by the native
energy of his mind, but also by the countenance of the queen, who appears to have had great reliance on bis judgment in ecclesiastical affairs.
On the assembling of the parliament, on the 23d of November, the Puritans attempted to rally their forces. On the 24th of the ensuing month, three petitions were presented to the house,of commons in favour of the non-conforming preachers,
and sixteen heads of reformation were digested into the form of a petition to the lords, requesting them to join with the lower house in an address to the queen, praying for a redress of ecclesiastical grievances. The petition was rejected by the peers, at the instance of the two archbishops, who, in elaborate speeches, defended the existing constitution of the church. That many abuses did exist in the details of ecclesiastical affairs could not, however, be denied; and, therefore, Whitgift drew up articles for the regulation of various things which required amendment. “Herein,” Strype observes," the archbishop, prudently, took the best course to oblige the queen, who, as she looked upon herself, according to her title, to have the supreme government and care of her church's affairs under God, so she disliked to have the parliaments, consisting of laymen, to meddle in church matters.". This dislike was soon manifested in a most effectual manner; for, on the lower house passing some bills which trenched on the power and emoluments of the clergy, Whitgift wrote a letter to Elizabeth, complaining of these proceedings ; in consequence of which, her majesty, in a speech from the throne, sharply reprimanded the offending commons, saying, amongst other things, that " she saw many over bold with God Almighty, making too many scannings of his blessed will, as lawyers did with human testaments; that the new fangled sect (the Puritans) she must pronounce to be dangerous to a kingly rule; and that to have every man, according to his own censure, to make a doom of the validity and privity of his prince's government, and that with a common vail and cover of God's word, she prayed God to defend them from such rulers that so evil would guide them.”. Such was the peremptory language of a female head of the church ; and such was the freedom of debate in parliament in the days of good Queen Bess.
On the breaking up of the parliament, some of the most active supporters
of the Puritans in the house of commons were, as Strype says, “ taken notice of;" that is, fined and imprisoned : and Whitgift seems to have, on this occasion, meditated a severe vengeance against his adversary, Beale, against whom he drew up fourteen articles of impeachment, one of which runs in this tenor, “ that he condemneth, without exception of any cause, racking of grievous offenders, as being cruel, barbarous, contrary to law, and unto the liberty of English subjects.” This accusation, however, slept in the archbishop's scrutoire ; not that his anger was mollified, but because Beale was protected by powerful friends.
We have seen how active Whitgift was in his researches into non-conformist irregularities ; but there was one species of inquisition against which he loudly protested ; namely, an
inquiry into the full value of all ecclesiastical revenues, for which purpose a commission was proposed soon after the breaking up of the parliament. Fearing, that this inquiry would tend to the diminishing of the incomes of the clergy, he successfully pleaded his own cause, and that of his brethren, in a letter to the lord treasurer, in which there occurs the following curious passage, which will be interesting to our readers of the profession of the law :-" It will, moreover, be a great discouragement to students in divinity, when men shall see the reward of their labours to wax worse and worse. The temporal lawyer, whose learning is no learning any where but at home, being born to nothing, doth, by bis labour and travel in that barbarous knowledge, purchase to himself and his for ever a thousand pounds per annum, and oftentimes much more ; whereof there are at this day many examples ; and yet no man saith black is his eye.”
Having warded off this blow aimed against the property of the church, Whitgift again directed his attention to his old enemies, the Puritans, who, at this time, published many books oppugning the established church discipline; and effectually to deprive them of this means of “ spreading sects and schisms, he procured a decree of the Star Chamber, prohibiting the use of printing presses any where but in London, with the exception of one in Oxford, and another in Cambridge, and also requiring, “ that no person should print any book unless allowed, according to the queen's injunction, and to be seen and perused by the Archbishop or the Bishop of London.”
In the parliament of 1586, the supporters of the Puritans again made a stand against the Episcopalians, and produced, in the house of commons, what they called “ a Platform,” designed upon the model of the church of Geneva, which was so favourably received, that an address was presented to the queen, petitioning her to sanction this new model. This petition, however, her majesty indignantly rejected, as an interference with her supremacy, which she would not allow to be called into question. The suspended and silenced clergy, now despairing of effecting any further reformation by the means of the parliament, resolved to organize their favourite system of discipline amongst themselves. They, accordingly, formed themselves into two classes; the one of which met at Warwick, and the other at Northampton ; and subscribed their names to a book, entitled “ The Holy Discipline of the Church described in the word of God." Being prevented from openly defending their principles on fair terms, by the restrictions which were imposed on the printing and publishing of religious tracts, they had recourse to private printing presses, from which issued a variety of libels against the bishops, among which the pamphlets